Two thought provoking reads this month.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
This may be the best book I’ve read this year. Nominated for the women’s prize in fiction, I can definitely see why. The writing is gorgeous, the characters are so complex, I don’t have it in me to hate the ones I should hate, because of their circumstances.
Twin girls grow up in a light-skinned small town in Louisiana, and eventually run away, and grow up to lead separate lives. One chooses the life where she makes amends with her blackness by marrying a dark skinned man and having a dark skinned daughter. The other twin, leads a life where she passes as white, creating a whole new identity for herself, essentially denying her blackness.
This story shows us their lives, and those of the people they are close to. It goes into family drama, identity trauma, and so much more which made these stories almost addicting for me. I highly, highly recommend it.
The Havoc of Choice by Wanjiru Koinange
I’m glad I’m reading more Kenyan books - and ones that I would strong-heartedly recommend to others.
The Havoc of Choice spotlights a family during the 2007 Kenyan elections. The book starts off with a choice one of the characters makes, and that choice slowly creates chaos in each of the characters’ lives.
The book starts off light and comedic, very amusing and relatable from a Kenyan perspective. The story is told through multiple points of view, which is easy to follow. Then it slowly falls apart and turns serious, dark, and academic toward the ending.
I think it’s a good read, definitely directed to Kenyans, on what matters most during election time. A good debut novel, with great implications and questions left to the reader.