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Bound to Traditon

BOUND TO TRADITION (review)

by
AKINYI PRINCESS OF K'ORINDA-YIMBO
 
Bound to Tradition grips readers with the story of Khira, a striking Kenyan woman who lived the high tension line connecting traditional culture with Euro metroculture. At a young age, Khira falls in love with Erik Lindqvist, a successful businessman in Nairobi. With Erik, she gains strength to defy Luo tradition and marry. Soon Erik introduces her and her family to unlimited wealth and travel. Khira becomes an adept businesswoman and Vice Chairman of the internationally known and respected Lindqvist Group.
 
Blest with such opportunities, Khira achieves her lifelong dream with a loving husband at her side and five children. She has gained so much and even surprises her friends when she tolerates Erik’s sexual dalliances. At the same time, she is haunted by traditional beliefs, harboring guilt over her responsibilities to the ancestors. She secretly allows her eleven-year-old daughter to be “initiated into womanhood”. Sadly, the scepter of medical disaster confronts Khira and Erik.
 
I heartily recommend this story to anyone concerned with humanity’s reaction to financial success, even when traditional values are threatened and lost. The picture of Khira is that of a thrilling heroine who risks all in a doomed effort to reconcile traditional with modern. No reader will be able to ignore or forget the book’s tragic outcome.
            -- Bruce L. Cook, Sanford, August 31, 2010
 
Bound to Tradition
by Akinyi Princess of K’Orinda-Yimbo
(ISBN 978-0-557-40453-7, 684 pages)   
Book Order:
Bound to Tradition is a literary African novel by a most promising African woman writer, Akinyi Princess of K’Orinda-Yimbo (her nonfiction Darkest Europe and Africa’s Nightmare: A Critical Observation of Neighboring Continents was acclaimed in literary circles as “Book of the Millennium” in 2008). The story takes place between 1952 and 1978. BTT is an unabridged version of the German translation that was published by Droemer-Knaur.
I loved the poignant style and picturesque dialogue – African/Luo as well as contemporary. This is a feat that only an accomplished writer can achieve so effortlessly without leaving the reader in doubt of what is meant. One is not only eagerly, glued to the pages, a smile on the lips and a tear in the eye but also transported to another realm of humanity. I’ve attended her readings to schoolchildren, women’s groups and the public in general at exhibitions. The princess could do a whole hour without the kids fidgeting. The adults want her to continue reading even after the break before discussions. Awesome. Then kids and grownups alike ply her with questions on Africa, Kenya, Luos and the characters in the novel. The author admits that there are autobiographical elements in the novel – BTT being the first volume of a trilogy.
There is something of a political statement in the book, but only in the arena of the human factor and cultural diversities. Fiction that serves to prove a point requires a skilful narrator, or it risks becoming tedious. The princess is such a narrator. Her talents as a writer are good enough to bring this readable novel to fruition. The plot is believable and thought-provoking. The bad guys are “bad” and the good guys are “good”, but always with that cultural diversity that is recognisable as a traditional mindset or even naiveté in all the characters. Here, what’s good for the gander is not automatically good for the goose. This makes the characters globally likeable and real. It could be any two diverse cultures clashing. Take the scene from Khira’s visit to a gynaecologist up in cool Sweden:
             In the consulting room she was undressed and helped onto this funny bed. A moment later, to her utter horror, a man walked in.
            "Goodday, Mrs Lindqvist. I'm Dr Carlsson."
            She didn't shake the offered hand nor return the greeting.
            Instead she whispered hoarsely to one of the nurses, "What's this man doing here?"
            "This is Dr Carlsson, Mrs Lindqvist," the nurse smiled, stroking her cheek as if she was a pet.
            "I didn't come here to see Dr Carlsson, I came here to see a gynaecologist!" she whispered again even more hoarsely, in anger.
            "Dr Carlsson is the gynaecologist, Mrs Lindqvist" said the nurse.
            ????!!!!
            She hissed again in her hoarse whisper, "My dear nurse, what’s the matter with you? Are you blind or are you crazy? Dr Carlsson is a man!"
         
She was humiliated beyond her comprehension. She felt like a helpless victim of some savage tribe's grotesque rituals, laid out and held on an altar of some evil gods, being defiled for them, a pregnant sacrifice.

The heroine Khira is a sympathetic young woman very representative of young Africans who try to run away from their traditions and bump into modernity, yet bounce back to who they truly are. One’s tradition and cultures, so the message, cannot be shade off completely. Rather, one is best advised to be a chameleon and blend in with the reigning environment while remaining in essence the creature one is deep in the core. Khira is a heroine all or most young Africans will easily sympathise and identify with. But there will be those who will shake their heads in disapproval or disbelief. Like Khira’s acceptance of her husband’s sexual dalliances – “A man may do what he likes in this respect; he’s only a man!” As opposed to women who are “deities” guarding the planet, upholding the morals of humankind.
This is a book with the message on the passenger seat while the story does the driving, the steering. I highly recommend it. Ideal as a (Christmas) present for families, friends and relatives.
 
C. N. Coolidge, Munich, 3 November 2010
 
Leserstimmen zu "Khiras Traum"

Autor: Ulrike Sheldon, Katzwang schrieb am 19. Januar 2oo6 Ich wollte schon lange schreiben, wie interessant ich "Khiras Traum" finde. Die kulturellen Unterschiede und die daraus resultierenden Konflikts zwischen den Protagonisten sind überzeugend herausgearbeitet und mit so viel Kenntnis und Einfühlungsvermögen erfasst. Es ist ein spannender und vielschichtiger Roman entstanden, der mit der dargestellten Problematik sehr aktuell ist und über sich hinaus verweist. So können wir alle nur auf weitere Romane gespannt sein!

Autor: Claudette Riesmeier schrieb am 24. Januar 2oo6 Einfach traumhaft! Aber ein Happy End wäre mir lieber, denn die "europäische Kultur" sollte eigentlich nicht (schon wieder) siegreich werden. Aber vielleicht gibt es eine Fortsetzung...?

Autor: Fam. Breunig schrieb am 28. Dezember 2oo5 "Khiras Traum" haben meine Frau und ich geradezu verschlungen. Es liest sich himmlisch gut, ist interessant und vermittelt einen Eindruck von einer uns völlig fremden Gedankenwelt

books-slideshow

 

darkestafrica.jpg khirastraum.jpg bound-to-tradition.jpg khirastraum-tb.jpg

 

Darkest Europe … ”Europe’s politics in Europe & Africa and Africa’s politics in Africa & Europe.”

Bound to Tradition … “When a potential adoptive father & daughter experience forbidden attractions.”

Khiras Traum … “Rich man poor in love.”

 

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