‘The People of Ostrich Mountain’ is a story that spans generations. We first follow Wambũi as she goes to school in the backdrop of the 1950s Mau Mau war, her impressive mathematics skills and intelligence earning her a place in a prestigious boarding school and nurtured by her teacher, Eileen Atwood. The years progress and we follow Wambũi and Eileen’s lives as well as the lives of Wambũi’s children. This is the story of how an intelligent young girl and a compassionate teacher pave the way for generations of success.
I loved reading this well crafted story, each character was brought vibrantly to life and I relished spending time with each character. ‘The People of Ostrich Mountain’ is beautifully written and introduced me to Mau Mau history, a history I was unaware of until now. While navigating the serious issues such as race, gender and immigration, with each character having their own struggles and experiences, I feel the main emphasis throughout the story is on community, goodwill and humanity. This is a book you can relax into, a family and friendship story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and would highly recommend.
As the 1950s Mau Mau war breaks out in the foothills of Mt. Kenya, Wamb?i, a fourteen-year-old girl leaves her besieged village to join a prestigious boarding school a half day’s journey away by train. There, she becomes aware of her extraordinary mathematical abilities discovered by her teacher, Eileen Atwood. Initially, Wamb?i views Eileen’s attentions with suspicion and hostility, but over time, the two grow close and form a lifelong friendship. Unfortunately for Wamb?i, the mid-twentieth century isn’t ready for a female math prodigy, particularly in Kenya. But she quietly and defiantly takes on the obstacles seeking to define her, applying her unusual gifts in new directions, which ultimately benefits her impoverished family and inspires her siblings and their children to pursue their own dreams. After forty years in Kenya, Eileen unexpectedly loses her employment authorization and is forced to return to England, where she struggles to adjust to living in a country she barely recognizes. Meanwhile, Wamb?i’s son, Ray, a doctor, navigates a fraught visa application process and travels to America to begin residency training; however, his hospital becomes insolvent and shuts down a year later. He and his colleagues are assimilated into other programs where, as foreign-born physicians, they endure relentless prejudice. As a black man, he also discovers that the streets of Chicago are sometimes quick to judge, with serious consequences. A saga of family and friendship spanning five decades and three continents, 'The People of Ostrich Mountain' chronicles the interconnected lives of three outsiders as they navigate the vagaries of race, gender and immigration.
|Publication date:||14th May 2020|
|Publisher:||Bon Esprit Books|
|Primary Genre||Historical fiction|
Ndirangu Githaiga was born and raised in Kenya, and immigrated to the United States as an adult. He is a practicing Pulmonary and Critical Care physician, based in Virginia.More About Ndirangu Githaiga