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The Dragonfly Sea: A novel (Hardcover)
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From the award-winning author of Dust comes a vibrant, stunning coming-of-age novel about a young woman struggling to find her place in a vast world--a poignant exploration of fate, mortality, love, and loss.
On the island of Pate, off the coast of Kenya, lives solitary, stubborn Ayaana and her mother, Munira. When a sailor named Muhidin, also an outsider, enters their lives, Ayaana finds something she has never had before: a father. But as Ayaana grows into adulthood, forces of nature and history begin to reshape her life and the island itself--from a taciturn visitor with a murky past to a sanctuary-seeking religious extremist, from dragonflies to a tsunami, from black-clad kidnappers to cultural emissaries from China. Ayaana ends up embarking on a dramatic ship's journey to the Far East, where she will discover friends and enemies; be seduced by the charming but unreliable scion of a powerful Turkish business family; reclaim her devotion to the sea; and come to find her own tenuous place amid a landscape of beauty and violence and surprising joy. Told with a glorious lyricism and an unerring sense of compassion, The Dragonfly Sea is a transcendent story of adventure, fraught choices, and of the inexorable need for shelter in a dangerous world.
About the Author
YVONNE ADHIAMBO OWUOR was born in Kenya. She is the author of the novel Dust, which was shortlisted for the Folio Prize. Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, she has also received an Iowa Writers' Fellowship. Her work has appeared in McSweeney's and other publications, and she has been a TEDx Nairobi speaker and a Lannan Foundation resident. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya.
“A dazzling coming-of-age tale . . . This lushly written epic of contemporary cultural clashes and world politics is as magically enveloping as a fairy tale.”—People
“Readers who gravitate toward glorious prose will find a feast in The Dragonfly Sea . . . Mesmerizing . . . The story is deftly interwoven with a sense of life’s fragility . . . The author brings the story full circle with passages that dazzle and enlighten.”—Barbara Clark, BookPage
“With a rich and enormous cast of global characters, Owuor depicts the cultural complexities of East Africa in a stirring story of loss and discovery.”—Barbara VanDenburgh, USA Today
“A stunning portrait of a young woman, setting off on a journey in which she encounters struggle, adventure, and great beauty.”—Southern Living
"Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor continues to break new ground among contemporary African writers'"—Vanity Fair
“This sophomore novel from one of Africa’s most exciting voices in fiction delivers on expectations . . . The Dragonfly Sea is a continent-hopping novel of epic proportions.”—Elena Nicolaou, Refinery29
“A magisterial novel . . . Sweeping . . . Gorgeous . . . Heart-rendingly lyrical . . . 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 . . . The novel features an enormous cast of vividly drawn characters . . . Munira, Ayaana, Muhidin, and Ziriyab are unforgettable figures. Owuor’s language is so lush, and her vision so vibrant, that [it] feels like sinking down into the intricacy of East Africa.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Owuor brings to life a beautiful story of loss and compassion . . . 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, Booklist
“In this sprawling, beautiful novel from Owuor, a real-life occurrence of a Kenyan woman traveling to China after learning of her Chinese heritage forms the backdrop for a moving story of loss and discovery . . . 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.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)