Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: Long held captive by her father’s shadow of corruption, Kavata has spent her life suffocated by political machinations. When her husband decides to run in the next election, these shadows threaten to consume her home. Unable to bear this darkness, Kavata plots to escape, as her family falls apart, so too does her country. In the wake of Kenya’s post-election turmoil, Kavata and her family must find their way back to each other across a landscape of nation-wide confusion, desperation, and heartrending loss.
Koinange explores the long reaching effects of colonisation and corruption within the context of a singular household and the desperate experiences of class and clan as they encapsulate.
I really enjoyed reading The Havoc Of Choice. My final rating for this book was a solid 4/5 stars.
2007 was a heavy year for Kenyans. A year filled with so much pain, loss and violence. With The Havoc Of Choice, Wanjiru Koinange has managed to use her words in reflection of this period of the post election violence that saw over 1,000 Kenyans lose their lives. The devastating ripple effect that the choices of the privileged could have on the less privileged was clearly shown in this book.
The story is centered around Kavata, daughter of a corrupt politician, seeking to distance herself from anything to do with rogue politics yet finding herself caught in the center of it. Nevertheless, several other characters are involved in this narration, their experiences depicted in a comprehensive manner serving to bring out each person’s experience regarding the horror that followed Kenya’s 2007 general elections. I expeirenced a myriad of emotions reading this book. From moments of bursting out with laughter to moments of shedding tears or being overcome by a general sadness. Knowing that the unfolding events in this book did actually happen makes the emotions as raw as can get. I loved how Wanjiru used a lot of Swahili (unapologetically, I might add) in her narration which made the book all the more relatable.
I would recommend this book to each and every Kenyan. For those who were not old enough to understand what exactly happened, this book gives a picture albeit a tiny fraction of how things went down in 2007. As her debut novel, this is quite a promising start and I am anxious to see what gems she has in store for us!
Wanjiru Koinange is a Kenyan writer, born and raised on a farm on the outskirt s of Nairobi with her four siblings. Her articles and essays have been published in print and online platforms, including Chimurenga and Commonwealth Writers. She holds a degree in Journalism and Literature from Nairobi’s United States International University (USIU) and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town, the product of which is her debut novel , The Havoc Of Choice. When she isn’t writing, Wanjiru is restoring Nairobi’s iconic public libraries through Book Bunk – a social impact firm working to convert neglected public libraries into inclusive spaces of art, learning and community.