The real world. That's what Leda desperately seeks when she flees her life of privilege to travel to Kenya. She finds it at a boys'orphanage in the slums of Nairobi. What she doesn't expect is to fall for Ita, the charismatic and thoughtful man who gave up his dreams to offer children a haven in the midst of turmoil. Read more...
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The real world. That's what Leda desperately seeks when she flees her life of privilege to travel to Kenya. She finds it at a boys'orphanage in the slums of Nairobi. What she doesn't expect is to fall for Ita, the charismatic and thoughtful man who gave up his dreams to offer children a haven in the midst of turmoil.
Their love "should" be enough for one another-it embodies the soul-deep connection both have always craved. But it is threatened by Ita's troubled childhood friend, Chege, a gang leader with whom he shares a complex history. As political unrest reaches a boiling point and the slum erupts in violence, Leda is attacked...and forced to put her trust in Chege, the one person who otherwise inspires anything but.
In the aftermath of Leda's rescue, disturbing secrets are exposed, and Leda, Ita and Chege are each left grappling with their own regret and confusion. Their worlds upturned, they must now face the reality that sometimes the most treacherous threat is not the world outside, but the demons within.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-02-25
- Reviewer: Staff
The novel’s beginning, which describes what appears to be a violent gang rape, sets the wrong tone for what is ultimately a story of romance and self-discovery—however shot-through it is with tragedy and social awareness. When the action jumps back in time from the assault, so that every scene marches toward it, this choice not only saps character development of interest—how significant can any minor personal epiphany be in light of what’s to come?—but also casts the love story and its mounting sexual tension in an obscene light. Leda is a disaffected heiress of 32 who hopes to find meaning volunteering at a Kenyan orphanage—and to perhaps find romance with its handsome founder, Ita. She’s shocked by the Nairobi slum but also transformed by her exposure to this alien world. The presence of Ita’s disturbing childhood friend Chege, a machete-wielding gangster, is a blot on her growing happiness, but a shift into Ita’s perspective illuminates their friendship, clarifying the compromises and bonds necessary to survival in a slum. Ita and Leda’s relationship grows against the backdrop of the escalating—and then erupting—tensions of the December, 2007 presidential elections in Kenya. Leda is a well-realized character and her journey a sympathetic, if clichéd, one; but the structure of the novel is fatally flawed. Agent: Frances Black, Literary Counsel. (Apr.)