Atonement

Like our own Margaret Ogolla’s ‘The River and the Source’ and ‘I Swear by Apollo,’ Ian McEwan brings us a novel of class, love, war, forgiveness and childhood. A child is a beam of sunlight from the infinite and eternal, with possibilities of virtue and vice.
Petulance. Petulance is a vice that often culminates to eternal guilt. When handled nonchalantly, the vice induces a lachrymose drama, more like the typical vidalia onions. Such was the case for Briony Tallis.
After a long spell of rain and wind in the summer of 1932, Briony witnesses her elder sister philandering with a son of a servant. Out of ingenuousness and her precocious imagination, she takes a decisive action that brings about a crime that would change all their lives. The crime, whose only remedy is atonement, rages through the chaos and carnage of World War II and way towards the closure of the twentieth century.
As a corporal, having been conscripted into the British army during the second World War, Robie Turner’s prospect was a rebirth, a triumphant return. He envisions himself swaggering again on the promise of life. But visions. Visions are the pieces that hold us together, that help us to carry on especially when we are right at the combat zone of the fiercest of battles. Many are the times we achieve them. Notwithstanding, at times they remain to be visions, safely stored at the innermost vaults of our minds.
“Here’s the beginning of love at the end of our travail. So farewell, kind friends, as into the sunset we sail.”

Robert Ouko

Shadow of Power

Towards the end of a constitutional convention, a curious citizen asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of government had been left behind by the founding fathers of the United States of America. His incisive answer was , ” A republic, if you can keep it. That is a job no president can do alone. It’s up to us to keep it, and make the best of it. ” However, it defeats logic that the public institutions such as the sacred Supreme Court of the land may turn out to lead the pack in harboring cover ups that may tear down a constitution built centuries ago. Terry Scarborough, a legal scholar bites more than he can chew by writing a book that wrecks havock in the country.
The book, ‘Perpetual Slaves, ‘ hints at a missing Thomas Jefferson’s letter in which the African Americans were referred to as three-fifths beings. The offensive language had surprisingly been retained in the American constitution. Scarborough’s intended fame leads to a homicide, when he is murdered in a San Diego hotel.
In the wake of the intense riots, breeds a sophisticated legal trench warfare, which, in the balance holds the life of a young African American man. While every bit of evidence points at the defendant, and the entire world tends to hold him guilty, Paul Madriani, a criminal defense attorney, believes that the defendant is a pawn, caught in the middle, being used as a scapegoat by circumstance, in the Shadow of power. Can Madriani unhook the defendant from the sharks of an uncertain criminal justice system? Can subpoenas make a high court justice of the United States to disappear into thin air? Does Madriani find the missing Jefferson’s letter and the secrets that shook the very foundations of the United States?
Robert Ouko

In the Shadow of a Saint

“My father, where does he end, and where do I begin? “
No holds unbarred in the remarkable tale of Ken Wiwa’s father’s exemplary life and appalling death. From a vantage position, Ken Saro Wiwa could see the disregard for humanity committed by Shell Company in the Ogoni community. Despite the community being the richest producer of oil in Nigeria, it became the real epitome of poverty. Better still, the community had crossed the line of poverty imperceptibly and reached the territory of indigence. That the owners of the most precious commodity in Nigeria were the very paupers without the slightest form of human decency was disheartening.
Ken Saro Wiwa, the true definition of egalitarianism, led a one man army in waging a war of human rights against the fascist rule of General Sani Abacha and a globally powerful Shell Organization, on behalf of his Ogoni land.
Back at home, Wiwa’s son, Ken Saro Wiwa junior, had to put up with the unnerving emotional challenge of living up to a virtually mythically famous father.
At the centre of the unfurling torrid heat, with Saro Wiwa having been sentenced to death by the Despotic regime of General Sani Abacha, was Ken Saro Wiwa junior flying across the world with pleas of appeals to the world leaders to save his father. Ken Saro Wiwa would be sent to the gallows on November 10, 1995, leaving behind two pertinent things. His heroic act a ‘fable’ tale, and a slip of paper with one conscience-pricking message, “This heinous act by the Nigerian authorities flies in the face of appeals by world leaders for a stay of execution. “
Does Ken Saro Wiwa leave behind a heroic name?
Robert Ouko

Desert Flower

‘We did not come to fear the future, we came to shape it.’ Perhaps Barrack Obama had Waris Dirie in mind when he avowed these magnificent words. Born in the Somali’s Galkayo suburb, Waris’ nonage is characterized by utmost bliss. Sporting till the setllement of dusk over the desert, drinking carmel milk day after day, and chanting her favorite hyms in her local lingo were her routine formulae. Notwithstanding, little Warris’ life takes a dramatic turn when, at the age of five, she, together with her elder sister are forced to undergo female genital mutilation.
Waris witnesses her elder sister bleed to death while her mother watches forlornly. At fourteen, she finds herself in a ‘catch 22 situation’ and has to flee to Mogadishu, in a sheer bid to escape an arranged marriage.
Standing in the eye of unthinkable adversity, weathering storms, enjoying the sunshine, Warris’ only recourse for survival is her name, (Waris) which conventionally means ‘desert flower. ‘ While in Mogadishu, Waris meets her relatives, a rendezvous that could augur a new phase of life. Still and all, when chance picks you up, you can choose to shine the light of optimism amidst the darkness of pessimism or can thwart it altogether. Whichever the case, the stones of sanguinity can always be hewn from the alleghenies of despair.
Does Waris choose optimism over pessimism?
Robert John Ouko

The President is Missing

Written against the backdrop of American leadership, the bewitching book divulge the pertinent theme that has indisputably taken the centre stage in most formal political tables world over. Deception, sellout, perfidy. Whichever way you choose to put it. Quintessential of the rich thrillers, political plot and mysteries, James Patterson and Bill Clinton take us through the rigours of an American Pontus.
President John Lincoln Dancun is looking into the eyes of 13 ‘circling shirks’ ready to munch him down with an impeachment, when one of the deadliest cyber attacks in the history of American leadership knocks on the American door. As the waves of heat keep rising off the pavement like flames above a roof, Dancun loses the rock of his family, Rachel, to cancer and is unable to mourn.
Can Dancun stop the virus that is at the verge of making America the latest third world country? Can he trace the brains behind the treasonous act from his Oval circle?
REVIEW BY ROBERT OUKO

the journey begins

when the sun is risen in the East, it sets on a journey that will see it set in the West, but literally it is the Earth that rotates. At times what we think are more vital and have control over them are the things that actually dictate how we are to behave around them. Notwithstanding, we are solely the determiners of our own paths