Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Fall of Saints: A Novel by Wanjiku Wa Ngugi

The Fall of Saints: A NovelThe Fall of Saints: A Novel by Wanjiku Wa Ngugi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Description: In this stunning debut novel, a Kenyan expat is living the American Dream until she uncovers her husband’s secrets and opens a Pandora’s box of good versus evil.

You can escape from a place…but not from your past.

Mugure and Zack seem to have the picture-perfect family: a young, healthy son, a beautiful home in Riverdale, New York, and a bright future. But one night, as Mugure is rummaging through an old drawer, she comes across a piece of paper with a note scrawled on it—a note that calls into question everything she’s ever believed about her husband…

Mugure heads down a dangerous road that takes her back to Kenya, where new discoveries threaten to undo her idyllic life. She wonders if she ever really knew the man she married and begins to piece together the signs that were there since the beginning. Who was that suspicious man who trailed Zack and Mugure on their first date at a New York nightclub? What about the closing of the agency that facilitated the adoption of their son?Who made a threat against her husband’s life? Soon, Zack must pay the price for his greed, and Mugure finds herself wielding a gun, fighting for her life.

Inspired by true news stories of human trafficking and international adoptions, The Fall of Saints tackles real-life political and ethical issues through a striking, beautifully rendered story. This extraordinary novel will tug at your heart and keep it racing until the end.


My thoughts: The subject matter is substantial in this novel. The author tells how babies are trafficked in Kenya by way of women signing away their uteruses. The women are held in a life of slavery of artificial insemination and fear. Human trafficking and slavery in order to supply the demand of adoptable babies and much more sinister activity is the theme.

The progression of the novel and the way it evolved had me scratching my head. The protagonist is a Kenyan citizen who marries a first generation Estonian immigrant. They fail to conceive and adopt a toddler they name Kobi. There is extraneous detail about the Kenyan father who had little to do with his daughter besides paying for her from afar and the Estonian father and grandfather that had tenuous ties to the story. Also a component of Caucasian man being evil and enslaving the black people but I found little evidence of this through the story besides anecdotal snippets. This argument just seemed out of place in the novel but the characters kept bringing it up. It was a near non-sequitur.

Although the subject is important, as I mentioned, the protagonist begins her Maverick quest when she bores of shopping in high end Manhatten stores and accidentally stumbles upon a torn piece of paper with her son's name on it, a company name, and a phone number, written by her husband. Suddenly, that cryptic and meaningless paper becomes the catalyst for her running around New York, seeking answers without having the first idea about the question because the clues are not enough to make a sane woman disrupt her meaningless shopping schedule to do so.

Naturally, by the end of the novel, her irrational suspicions of foul play to an adoption which she had absolutely no involvement in procuring (Hello? How involved would YOU be in the adoption of your child?) and she ends up in Ohio with an ex boyfriend (inappropriate and non sequitur) where she entrusts her son to virtual strangers and runs off to Kenya and transforms herself from rich, soccer mom to sharp shooter that everybody wants to kill. The leaps induced whip lash. My neck is still aching.

Bottom line is that I read it as an ARC so I reserve final judgment but IMHO, it needs a lot of work to be believable


1 comment:

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.