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Book Review: Dance of the Jakaranda

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When you see the ‘k’ in Jakaranda, you really want to correct it. Who writes ‘Jacaranda’ that way? Well, Peter Kimani does, and it is the name he chose for his fictional nightclub. (Ha! Had to spoil it for you this early! Perhaps I should not have mentioned that. Sorry Peter, and Bola, I just couldn’t resist!).

The book is not about dancing.

Yes, there’s plenty of that vividly described, you can feel the party mood, smell the sweat of the revellers, the aroma of the nyamachoma and even the stench of the urinal, and trigger whatever sense is triggered when you see, smell, and drink alcohol.

The reason I loved the book, is the meticulous research that went into it. All great works of historical fiction need thorough research. In Kenya, with the political identities defined or determined by ethnic identities, and the question of identity being pretty much the determinant of everything in an individual’s life, more so in political participation and public service, such research was an inva…