It was not the Old Man’s rage that he feared, nor the prospect of police cell and the gunbutts and kicks of his fellow corporals. He did not fear any of that. It was that the Old Man had faded. That was why he had left. There was nothing there anymore. Everybody was leaving, and lying about it.
The policeman’s grin broadens. He pounces. Long fingers. A girl would shave her head for fingers like his. He spits on my finger, and draws out the ring with his teeth; the ring I have worn for 18 years – from the day I was recognized by the priests as a man and a prince. It was supposed to have been passed on to the son I do not have. The policeman twists my hand this way and that, his tongue caught between his teeth; a study in concentrated avarice.
In contemporary Nairobi, a young man named Moses Odidi Oganda bleeds to death in the streets, murdered by police. As his lifeblood – full of memories, colors, and songs – pours into the dust, the stories that tumble forth reveal the violent upheaval of Kenya’s own life, reaching from the Mau Mau uprisings of the 1950s to the murky intricacies of modern-day corruption.
Dear Philomena is Byenkya’s debut novel. The story of two strokes, one girl, one boy and a whole lot of magical realism. Dear Philomena is a one of a kind piece of work. It captures the ways that people read, live and behave in the new millennium. Byenkya speaks to mental and physical health, love and friendship, support and patience in ways that have yet to be done; all the while creating an uniquely suspenseful and thoughtful piece of literature.