The Dragonfly Sea follows the life of Ayaana. A young girl from Kenya’s Pate Island. Born of a woman,
Munira, who got pregnant while in university and hence a pariah in her home. Disowned by her own father. Ayaana grows up without knowledge of her biological father.
She led a rather banal life on
the Island until it was discovered that she had Chinese heritage. That she was a houyi, a descendant of China. She was the chosen one to walk the space between the past and the present, to that their future could be shared.
A trip is organized for her to China to pay homage to her roots. This trip aboard MV Qingrui introduces her to her first lover, Captain Lai Jin. China proves to be an intriguing experience for the Island girl who erstwhile gone no further than her Island. The culture, the people, the history!
Everything about China taught her something new.
She enrols in Xiamen University to study Maritime Science. As fate would have it, she get involved with a boy, Koray. This relationship takes her to Istanbul where she learns of the boy’s family and its perilous dealings. That she was betrothed to be married into a family of dubious biddings and a
target on their back. She flees back to China and eventually back to Pate.
Her life adapts many truths and lies as she traverses from one corner of the world to another. She encounters love, pain, is the near-victim of
radicalization, diverse cultures and epiphanies.
Yvonne Awour Adhiambo, who is also the author of Dust, puts together a stunning literary mosaic inspired by real life events. The inimitable way in which she intersperses methali, Swahili sayings in this book adds to its allure. It reminds one of how Achebe infuses Igbo proverbs in his books. It’s
testament to the calibre of authorship she yields and the richness of Swahili culture!
REVIEW BY AURA BILLY OSOGO