I have read many stories, not only as a student and professor of literature, but also as a literary editor and passionate. I have also participated in forums where literary works have been discussed and one thing has always stood out: it does not matter where you are from; or your training or your literary abilities, but if you can remember, and with passion, specific characters, scenes, and even lines from a work you read many years ago, then you know you have read a good book.
This is how excited I felt reading Kithusi Mulonzya’s debut novel, Main light. I enjoyed the way this journalist turned writer vividly explores traditional African culture like a seasoned anthropologist.
In this story, we meet a people who are struggling to extricate themselves from a curse that befalls them when they cruelly expel missionaries from their village who have brought them a formal education and a new religion. We sympathize with a beautiful dance champion who is bitten by a snake and she is to be buried on the day she is due to have her engagement party. It’s also important to mention how this novel explores various societal stereotypes and prejudices.
The novel, rich in description and symbolism, also tells the story of a woman who, by the 1960s, had already come of age in terms of female emancipation. Although she has been disinherited and exiled from her village, she is struggling to regain possession of what is hers and in doing so speaks on behalf of many other women who face the same situation as her own.
A reader will not miss the subtle but strong call for justice and fairness.
A person reading Main light Would be forgiven to think that Kithusi is a regular at literary writing, especially for the prowess with which he holds the reader’s attention while taking him through the intricate paths of his characters’ journeys.