Author: Munira Hussein
Extent: 155 pages
Price: Ksh. 1,000
Reviewer: Rumona Apiyo
Available at: Prestige Bookshop
We are all strangers to the depth by which the roses and the thorns North-Eastern Kenyans face from sunrise to set. Apart from the hijabs they put on despite the scorching sun in the region-, skinny babies suffering from hunger strikes, FGM and the harrowing stories of terrorism; we know less of the good from the region. Therefore, our unending efforts to keep consoling them or even try fit in their shoes must necessarily fail. Having started on that note, it doesn’t mean that Unfit for Society bombards your mind with such stories.
In the midst of disparity, Munira Hussein rises up like a full moon to contribute immensely to the Northern Kenyan Literature with her well – thought out eight short stories. These stories are not callous to misfortune; nonetheless, they are mainly about the power that governs the human’s affairs and their chosen paths of life.
The book starts us off with the first story titled, Hanging From the Edge of a Half- Moon. This is a story about two young girls who are inseparable, yet belong to two different worlds. Sofia and her Sahib choose different paths of life. Just like in the second story Oblivion, where two blood brothers live two different lives like day and night. So are the rest of the stories to the last one Unfit for the Society which also makes the title of the book. Delving into these stories opens up your relish for information about what really happens in North-Eastern Kenya. Given that Munira has lived most her life in Wajir, her stories depict the day-to-day unexaggerated lives of the societies therein.
(The lovely Munira 🙂
The book contains an exposition to major themes such as education. For instance, in the first story, Hanging From the Edge of a Half-Moon, she talks about the devastations faced by children in public schools. She also talks about madrassa and the challenges faced by parents who educate their children yet they still drop out in form three to spend the rest of their lives chewing khat. This theme that is central in the book is also well addressed in the last story. Other themes includes marriage and divorce, irresponsible parents, negligence, Sharia Laws, culture, work, terrorism and religion.
This book reminded me of Elif Shafak, the writer of Forty Rules of Love amongst other titles. Munira, just like the aforementioned, has a way of connecting her fiction stories with your emotions. She is very descriptive in her writing making her works fit in the magical realism world. She makes you hungry, sad, happy, curious and yearning for more from her fountain of thoughts.
Read also: Daughter of Venice
Unfit the Society is a book to savor.
It will be launched on Friday 18th may 2018 at the National Museums of Kenya (Ford Hall) at exactly 2.30pm.
Welcome and grab a copy as we share with Munira in the joy of launching her book!
You can read more of Rumona’s works at Tales of Rumona