Title: Shoreline

Author: Jacob Aliet

Reviewer: Vera Omwocha

Price: Ksh. 1,000

When Nyakongo, a towering giant of a man goes fishing under the shadowy cover of the thick reed and papyrus vegetation, he steps on a sharp object on the bottom of the lake. The leg later swells and becomes painfully unbearable. It is while at the hospital that the doctors recommend amputation.

Nyakongo cries out to God but a mysterious voice answers. The voice makes him promise to give his soul and any another soul the mysterious creature would ask for as an exchange for his healing. In a desperate attempt to get well, Nyakongo makes the promise, attracting the mysterious creature to the rather peaceful and superstitious Kamser village.

The mysterious creature asks Nyakongo for a Billy goat each time Nyakongo goes grazing. Nyakongo gets distressed and hatches a plan to kill it and undo the pact; which he does amidst threats for revenge from the creature.

Adhiambo, Nyakongo’s wife, gives birth to a girl with weak bones; formless as jelly. Shocked, Nyakongo and the villagers ask Adhiambo to throw the baby away. She hides the baby on top of reeds at the lake but hides to nurse the baby. The girl, Nyarnam, is adopted by an octopus and finds a new home in the lake. Her adoptive mother guards and protects her fiercely.

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Because of her human features, Nyarnam would soon wish to be re-united with humans. In her quest, lives of villagers are lost and her life threatened as the villagers hunt for her blood, believing she is a demon. When the villagers attempt to kill her and she escapes hurt, the octopus declares revenge on them; the effects dire.

Will Nyarnam be accepted by her people? Will she get married to the man she loves?

In this engaging text, events roll into each other easily and in this culturally rich Luo village. The suspense throughout the text gets you reading on.

The lake is a mysterious setting; with its creatures and life. And, you’ll learn about the lives of octopuses.

A highly recommended read.