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About Peter Kimani
Peter Kimani is a Kenyan author of, most recently, Dance of the Jakaranda, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He earned a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. He is a founding faculty member at Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi. He was the Visiting Writer at Amherst College in the United States.
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Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.
Brand-new stories by: Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Stanley Gazemba, Ngumi Kibera, Peter Kimani, Winfred Kiunga, Kinyanjui Kombani, Caroline Mose, Kevin Mwachiro, Wanjiku wa Ngugi, Faith Oneya, Makena Onjerika, Troy Onyango, J.E. Sibi-Okumu, and Rasna Warah.
Praise for Nairobi Noir
“Nairobi Noir takes readers into the enigmas that haunt Kenya’s most populous city through the deft storytelling of a stellar cast of writers, which includes Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Stanley Gazemba, Makena Onjerika, Troy Onyango, and others.” —Brittle Paper, One of 50 Notable African Books of 2020
“Nairobi is a city of 3 million souls, so it makes sense as a setting Akashic Books’ famed noir series. 14 new stories fill a collection with Nairobi old and new; authors range in age from 24 to 81, and many layers of the city and its complex subcultures will be revealed as the reader makes their way through. Perfect for the armchair traveler!” —CrimeReads, included in CrimeReads’ Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020
“Crime fiction fans have much to savor.” —Publishers Weekly
Lee Child recruits Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Ames, Cara Black, and others to reveal nicotine's scintillating alter egos.
"Typically for Akashic--publisher of the terrific Noir series--the stories approach the subject matter from an impressive number of angles...Akashic has yet to produce a dull anthology, and this one is especially good."
"Sixteen tributes to America's guiltiest pleasure...Even confirmed anti-smokers will find something to savor."
"The most successful entries delve bone-deep into addiction, as characters smoke to smother physical pain, loneliness, and their days...These writers capture the mental gymnastics behind the characters' bad decisions, and the joy such bad decisions can bring."
In recent years, nicotine has become as verboten as many hard drugs. The literary styles in this volume are as varied as the moral quandaries herein, and the authors have successfully unleashed their incandescent imaginations on the subject matter, fashioning an immensely addictive collection.
Featuring brand-new stories by: Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Ames, Eric Bogosian, Achy Obejas, Michael Imperioli, Hannah Tinti, Ariel Gore, Bernice L. McFadden, Cara Black, Christopher Sorrentino, David L. Ulin, Jerry Stahl, Lauren Sanders, Peter Kimani, and Robert Arellano.
From the introduction by Lee Child:
Food scientists have discovered a complex compound naturally present in, among other things, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The compound offers us a number of benefits: it improves our fine motor skills; it increases our attention spans; it improves our cognitive abilities; it improves our long- and short-term memories; it lessens depression...In and of itself, it has no real downside. It's called nicotine. We should all get some.
The problem is the delivery system...The most efficient way is to burn dried tobacco leaves and inhale the smoke. Ten seconds later, the compound is in your brain, doing good in all its various ways. Unfortunately, the rest of the smoke doesn't do good. And therein lies a great mystery of human behavior. To get the good, we risk the bad. Or we prohibit ourselves the good, for fear of the bad. Which approach makes more sense?
Set in the shadow of Kenya’s independence from Great Britain, Dance of the Jakaranda reimagines the special circumstances that brought black, brown and white men together to lay the railroad that heralded the birth of the nation.
The novel traces the lives and loves of three men—preacher Richard Turnbull, the colonial administrator Ian McDonald, and Indian technician Babu Salim—whose lives intersect when they are implicated in the controversial birth of a child. Years later, when Babu’s grandson Rajan—who ekes out a living by singing Babu’s epic tales of the railway’s construction—accidentally kisses a mysterious stranger in a dark nightclub, the encounter provides the spark to illuminate the three men’s shared, murky past.
With its riveting multiracial, multicultural cast and diverse literary allusions, Dance of the Jakaranda could well be a story of globalization. Yet the novel is firmly anchored in the African oral storytelling tradition, its language a dreamy, exalted, and earthy mix that creates new thresholds of identity, providing a fresh metaphor for race in contemporary Africa.
“Destined to become one of the greats . . . This is not hyperbole: it’s a masterpiece.” —The Gazette
“A fascinating part of Kenya’s history, real and imagined, is revealed and reclaimed by one of its own.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Kimani’s novel has an impressive breadth and scope.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“Highlighted by its exquisite voice, Kimani’s novel is a standout debut.” —Publishers Weekly
“Lyrical and powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews