|The Dragonfly Sea|
The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, March 12, 2019, Knopf Publishing Group
To cross the vast ocean to their south, water-chasing dragonflies with forbears in Northern India had hitched a ride on a sedate "inbetween seasons" morning wind, one of the season's introits, the matlai. One day in 1992, four generations later, under dark-purplish-blue clouds, these fleeting beings settled on the mangrove-fringed southwest cove of a little girl's island....And so we are introduced to that little girl, Ayaana, whose life on the Kenyan island of Pate is described in the first sections of the novel. It's a life full of her love for the sea, her rescued little white kitten, and the man she adopts as her father who teaches her at home because of bullying and bias in her island school,
The next sections of the book sees an older Ayaana in China, which has claimed her as a Descendant, one with Chinese ancestry, and sent her to study in a college, a way to help cement her and Kenya's ties to China.
Aayana struggles with all the changes in her life, the new faces, languages, places, while searching to find out who she really is, who she truly loves, and where she truly belongs.
Written in a poetic style, with multiple plays on language and imagery and symbols, The Dragonfly Sea is a literary novel about a girl's universal search for meaning and belonging in a complex and diverse world. I gave it an enthusiastic five stars.
Ayaana walked as one condemned. She ached for a return to life aboard the ship.
Ni shi shei? the sea still called out to her. Who are you? She ignored it.
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