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Synopsis

"The moon was red on the night my mother died. Fat, fairly bursting, as I remember, it rode so low in the sky that it grazed the backs of the leopards who hissed and spat and cursed it for interrupting the hunt. It caressed the thorny tips of the acacia trees, bending them, seeming to crush them with light."

In The Red Moon, newcomer Kuwana Haulsey has crafted a strikingly beautiful coming-of-age story set amid the turbulent history of modern Kenya.

The novel centers on Nasarian, the daughter of a successful Samburu herdsman and his Somali fourth wife. On the verge of adulthood, Nasarian finds herself trapped between the demands of her traditional tribal life and her desire to live abroad as a writer. When her parents die suddenly, Nasarian's plan to escape her sheltered world is undermined by her scornful brother Lolorok. Disgusted by Nasarian's refusal to be circumcised and thus initiated into the traditional role of wife and mother, Lolorok allows his sister to be inherited by a distant cousin.

Nasarian is convinced that no matter how hard she fights, she will never be allowed to call her life her own. She is dogged by the memory of her father, who was caught in the midst of a brutal war, branded with the name Mau Mau, imprisoned as a terrorist. She is haunted by the spirit of her mother, captured in a bloody raid and destined, like Nasarian, to be an outcast.

Nasarian runs away, sparking a sweeping journey of discovery that evokes fifty years and three generations of her family history. Weaving ancient myth and folklore into the tapestry of Nasarian's personal quest, The Red Moon chronicles the yearning of a brave young woman while simultaneously depicting a nation's equally fierce search for a truthful and lasting spiritual independence.

Stunning in its revelations, The Red Moon portrays incisively a way of life rarely glimpsed by those who have not experienced its richness and survived its terror. With an intensity rare in modern fiction, The Red Moon takes readers into the heart of an incredibly courageous young woman.


From the Hardcover edition.

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