In the novella WHISPER TO MY ACHING HEART, novelist Joseph R. Alila tells a story about two eighteenth-century Luo widows who battle against great odds to become mothers of a future people. In this moving-yet-romantic story, a young widow (Apiny) is the bearer of the damning spiritually untouchable label in the patriarchal African society. Ejected alongside her widowed mother-in-law (Awino) and ridiculed by friends, Apiny waits for fifteen years before she receives another man in her bed. Even then, her moment of triumph comes only after Awino remarries and raises a miracle son (Otin), who answers the call to marry Apiny and redeem his fallen brother’s honor. Even after getting all the handsome sons and beautiful daughters, she wished for from her youthful lover, Apiny is not at peace in her heart. She mourns and struggles, in her heart, as her youthful husband inevitably bows to Luo cultural demands and receives a virgin wife.
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