The Resource The dragonfly sea : a novel, by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

The dragonfly sea : a novel, by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Label
The dragonfly sea : a novel
Title
The dragonfly sea
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A vibrant, stunningly global novel about a young woman struggling to find her place--a poignant exploration of fate, mortality, love, and loss. On the small island of Pate, off the coast of Kenya, lives a girl named Ayaana. She is solitary and stubborn--she and her mother, Munira, are outcasts from the insular local society--and her kitten is her main companion. When a wizened sailor named Muhidin, also an outsider, enters their lives, Ayaana receives what she has long hoped for: a father. But this makeshift family's happiness crumbles as Ayaana grows into adulthood and the threats against her begin to mount: from an Islamic extremist, from the black-clad strangers who kidnap Muhidin's son, from a human trafficker, from the simmering resentments of those around her. So when a contingent of cultural emissaries from China invite Ayaana abroad, she embarks on a dramatic ship's journey to the Far East, where she will make friends and enemies; be seduced by the mercurial scion of a powerful Turkish business family; be initiated into a world of intrigue and passion and high stakes; and, at last, find understanding where she least expects it. Her one constant remains her devotion to the sea, which pulls her across the globe in search of a place where she can love and be loved. The Dragonfly Sea is a transcendent, gloriously told story of adventure, fraught choices, and of the inexorable need for shelter in a dangerous world"--
Storyline
Writing style
Character
Review
  • In her second novel, Owuor (Dust, 2014) brings to life a beautiful story of loss and compassion. On the island of Pate, off the coast of Kenya, young girl Ayaana is an outcast from the community and ignored by her scandalous mother. Exploring the beach each day in search of a father she has never known, Ayaana meets a sailor and fellow outcast, Muhidin. A love of the sea brings this unlikely pair together, and Muhidin becomes the father for which Ayaana has always longed. Readers follow Ayaana’s journey into adulthood and through her tumultuous voyage off the island. But Pate is like a magnet for lost souls, and all who leave eventually make their way back home. This path is true for Ayaana, and she must face her tragic past before she is able to build her future. Elucidating her characters' emotions and struggles, Owuor takes readers to the core of each one and shows that even in the face of heartache and betrayal, there is always a path to redemption. -- Melissa Norstedt (Reviewed 1/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 9, p35)
  • /* Starred Review */ In this sprawling, beautiful novel from Owuor (Dust), a real-life occurrence of a Kenyan woman travelling to China after learning of her Chinese heritage forms the backdrop for a moving story of loss and discovery. In 1992, on Pate Island, a small island off the coast of Kenya, six-year-old Ayaana spends her days scanning the seas for boats and the return of a father she never knew. One day, a “sun-blackened, salt-water-seared, bug-eyed and brawny” sailor appears and Ayaana chooses him for a father, much to his surprise—and to the chagrin of her mother. Then, years later, when cultural emissaries from China arrive at Pate, 20-year-old Ayaana discovers she is a descendent of 14th-century mariner Admiral Zhang He, whose seafaring expeditions brought him to Africa, and agrees to set sail for China to be united with distant relatives. Once there, she serves as living justification for a commercial Chinese stake in an increasingly globalized Africa: “Cohabiting with shadows—here was the weight of a culture with a hulking history now preparing itself to digest her continent.” Attracting attention wherever she goes, Ayaana struggles to assimilate to Chinese culture and is as drawn to the sea as ever. Brilliantly capturing Ayaana’s sense of loss of her home and her family, as well as her hope for the future, Owuor’s mesmerizing prose lays bare the swirling global currents that Ayaana is trapped within. With a rollicking narrative and exceptional writing, this epic establishes Owuor as a considerable talent. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed 12/17/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 51, p)
  • Religious extremists and dragonflies, a tsunami, and a journey to the Far East are among the many variables that make for a tumultuous coming-of-age for Ayaana, raised by her mother on the island of Pate off Kenya's coast. From Caine Prize winner Owuor, whose Dust was short-listed for the Folio Prize. --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed 10/15/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 17, p44)
  • /* Starred Review */ A magisterial novel about life amid East Africa's tumultuous cultural and political ferment in the shadow of the American war on terror. Owuor (Dust, 2014) returns with a sweeping story of lives that intersect on Pate, an island off the coast of Kenya. The island is a palimpsest, a place where people come to forget or rewrite their life stories, and Owuor introduces us to a vivid set of characters who all want to begin their lives again in the island's embrace. We first meet Munira, the daughter of a wealthy business family that tries to marry her off to "an austere scholar" after she becomes pregnant with an unknown man's child. The incident proves ignominious for her family, and soon Munira is left alone on Pate with her irrepressible daughter, Ayaana. The duo lives a quiet life until the sudden arrival of Muhidin, an avowed infidel who long ago abandoned Pate for the life of a sailor. "Between religion and my black skin there shall be a sky's distance until the day I hear the Call to Atonement," he promised upon leaving the island. In his old age, though, he begins to fixate on his home: "Pate," he ruminates. "A phantom-calling invocation. Memories crawled over Muhidin like arachnids sneaking out of forgotten crypts." He soon finds himself bound up in Munira's and Ayaana's lives, as the daughter sees in him the father she never knew, and Muhidin feels himself drawn into a paternal bond with her. Meanwhile, the island is beset by American troops—whom the locals refer to derisively as "the Terrorized"—who hope to combat terrorism by cultivating the islanders' hearts and minds. In the midst of the conflict, another stranger arrives: Ziriyab, a migrant fleeing military retribution after his brother participates in the bombing of a foreign navy ship. His appearance forever alters Munira, Ayaana, and Muhidin's motley family. For all the emphasis on contemporary geopolitics, however, Owuor has ultimately written a novel that is about everything the war on terror cannot register: the vastness, complexity, and richness of East Africa's cultural world. She represents it as a stunning mélange of Islamic and African cultural traditions that are woven together via the motif of the sea. Pate becomes the epicenter of an ethos and a people who move freely, sailing without regard for cultural and national borders. The novel features an enormous cast of vividly drawn characters, from Chinese businessmen to Wahhabi Islamic fundamentalists. Its heart, however, is the quartet of characters who motivate the novel's primary narrative. Rendered in language that is heart-rendingly lyrical (even if it does border on purple at times), Munira, Ayaana, Muhidin, and Ziriyab are unforgettable figures. Owuor's language is so lush, and her vision so vibrant, that by the time Ayaana emulates Muhidin and embarks upon her own sea journey, it doesn't much matter; the reader is likely sunken down into the pleasure of Owuor's sentences. To do so feels like sinking down into the intricacy of East Africa. A gorgeous novel of Africa's entanglement with the wider world. (Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2019)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10763023
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Owuor, Yvonne Adhiambo
Dewey number
823/.92
Illustrations
maps
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Families
  • Kenya
  • Island life
  • Outcasts
  • Kenyans
  • China
  • Voyages and travels
Label
The dragonfly sea : a novel, by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
Map on endpapers
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1037888169
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
489 pages
Isbn
9780451494047
Lccn
2018020711
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
map
System control number
(OCoLC)1037888169
Label
The dragonfly sea : a novel, by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Publication
Copyright
Note
Map on endpapers
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1037888169
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
489 pages
Isbn
9780451494047
Lccn
2018020711
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
map
System control number
(OCoLC)1037888169

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