JR Alila’s “A FISHY MATTER” (a novel)


In JR Alila’s novel A FISHY MATTER [ISBN-13: 978-1541311657], by a single unusual act, a beautiful witch, Kala, unsettles decades of peace between residents of Korondo Ridge and their neighbors on Osure Ridge.
Obera of Korondo Ridge is an unhappy woman: every Friday evening, her fresh-fish dish sends Odingo, her alcoholic husband, fleeing to alcohol dens before she even serves her soup.
Across the River Dolo, in one Chan’s home, Kala, a beautiful witch, has a different problem: she wants a child she cannot get from Otis, her witch husband. Specifically complicating her situation is her being a witch, a night runner–a fact that has limited her options from within Chan’s home. Didn’t the Luo of old say, “Jaber jaula–the beautiful one has a fault”?
Urged by her mother-in-law (Wilkista), who is anxious to cover her son’s shame, Kala looks beyond Osure Ridge to neighboring Korondo Ridge for seeds for her field. Thanks to her nocturnal life, one night, Kala encounters Odingo returning from a late-night alcohol party. A few nocturnal sightings later, Kala nabs Odingo, charms him into a zombie, gets her wish, and dumps the dumb zombie into a dead well in Dolo Valley.
The Luo say, “Jajuok ido gotieno to ing’eye–a witch charms people at night, but he or she eventually is known.” That is what happens in the Kala/Odingo saga. A boy within Chan’s home talks about Odingo’s disappearance. Chan is rocked when he realizes that his first wife, Wilkista–a woman with whom he has lived for over thirty years and the mother of his six sons–is a practicing witch, and so is Otis, their last born.
Odingo eventually regains speech, but only after religious ministers and a mysterious passerby play their spiritual hands in the case.
The Kala-Odingo saga is not over on both ridges. On Korondo Ridge, Kala charms her way into the hearts of Odingo’s family, principally by flaunting “a shared blood bond” at them. Call it the cat palling with the mouse, Kala soon is secretly dating Odingo, her victim, but a few pairs of eyes are watching from both ridges.
On Osure Ridge, Kala turns rogue: she directs her charms at Chan; she even bats down the father-in-law in his own home.
When Kala’s pregnancy becomes obvious, a raging verbal war erupts between Wilkista and Chan over the swirling claim that she sent her daughter-in-law (and fellow witch) to the aliens of Korondo Ridge, to get seeds for her field. Angry over the scandalous exposure, Wilkista orders Otis to get rid of Kala, just as the pregnant belle walks on the conversation.
Kala realizes her life is in danger, crosses Dolo Valley, and lands in brave Odingo’s waiting hands. Both elope to a distant city, leaving residents of Korondo Ridge and Osure Ridge wondering what has hit them. It is a first: neither ridge ever before lost a wife to their cross-valley neighbors.
Chan fights for his honor in legal courts, as Kala, now “born again”, sets her roots in Korondo Ridge.

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Author JR Alila’s REBELS (a novel)


In author Joseph R Alila’s new novel, REBELS [ISBN 13: 978-1548693435], set in Kenya’s 1970s and 1980s, a widowed bride (Betty Kinda), flees from the custody of her parents, leaving her in-laws, who must give her a replacement husband before they burry her late fiancé (Mika Olongo), in an untenable situation. Reaching Kisumu City, Betty meets one Nurse Rose, an annealed widow, who empathizes with her, ‘adopts’ her, and enrolls her in a day secondary school (she is pregnant). Suddenly, tempers flare across the Nyogunde Valley, pitting Betty’s in-laws (the Ombos of Korondo Ridge) and her parents (the Kindas of Rabuor Ridge) as elders debate how the Ombos would burry and mourn their son when his widow/bride is in school tens of miles away.

Betty eventually accepts one Luka Okiya—the replacement husband her in-laws ‘post’ to her. Okiya, the Luo jater (levirate), turns out to be a perfect match with Betty; after all, he is the man whose overtures she ignored in favor of the late Olongo.

Thanks to Nurse Rose, Betty catches the metaphorical wind and flies with it, with Okiya in tow. The cultural rebels, who even ‘tie the knot’ in an unprecedented (at least on Korondo Ridge) sneak church wedding, graduate from college–Betty with a degree in law and Okiya with a degree in government—with their three sons and a daughter cheering them on!

While the Okiyas sweat it out among Kenya’s urban diaspora, raising children as they climb the academic ladder and eventually become senior government officers, back home, on Korondo Ridge, several verbal wars rage on over heritage and land.

At its core, JR Alila’s REBELS is about the modern Luo at war with her past that is not letting go easily. In this enduring, heart-warming love story, we affirm that even rebels sworn to unity can stumble. When Okiya falters, in anger, after their son Mark calls him an unthinkable name, Betty is tested to the limit. She must weigh building the legacy of her late husband (Olongo) against her continued loyalty to Okiya—the jater (levirate) who pulled her out of the spiritual cloud of her late husband and joined her in chasing a modern dream, formal education. Betty, the trained family lawyer, discovers that a Luo jater (levirate) can’t be divorced! But yes, he can be ejected. Will she do that at the expense of family unity?

Maya (Synopsis)…


Maya (Synopsis)

MAYA, a novel, is a narrative about ordinary people, with human flaws, caught up in the constant glare of life. They discover they only can cheat about, run or hide from, or ignore the flaws at their own peril.

Maya Boone faces a legal quandary over a death she has witnessed from her hideout on Eagle Street, Harmony, New York. First, she watches Raul, the troublesome husband from whom she is hiding, kill a bulldog. She then crosses Eagle Streetto enquire whether the dog’s owner (Mike) is suing Raul, but she instead falls in love with the heartbroken man, lures him to her bed, and even contemplates witnessing against Raul. The brief affair ends quickly as Mike falls victim to an enraged boyfriend’s arrow of passion. Wounded and helpless, Mike is at the mercy of a stalker named Booker, a moonlighting evangelist he, Mike, previously unmasked while the preacher waited tables at Bar Delirium.  No mercy for Maya, only a slow death.

Maya soon confronts her past. Also witnessing the murder is Officer Jimmy Depuy–a child from Maya’s selfish past. Neither Raul nor Maya nor Officer Depuy knows this. Then Detective John unearths the blood knot, and soon District Attorney Hess is advancing criminal motives against the Rauls and Officer Depuy.

Harmony streets already sing a disharmonious tune from economically depressed youths and the elderly, and Captain Depuy and his officers are edgy. Now, Captain Depuy has a personal battle to fight, for the line between suspect and witness to a murder has become blurry.

Maya fits the murder-mystery-thriller genre, but like recent novels penned by this author, it has a strong literary fiction aspect to it. MAYA should appeal to those readers who seek to understand, in human character, matters beyond the mundane of life.

The Wise One of Ramogiland (a Novel)


In Joseph R. Alila’s spiritual anthropological novel, THE WISE ONE OF RAMOGILAND, the arrival of a colonial master in Kenya presents a new spiritual reality to a very religious people, who quickly adapt to the new spiritual situation in the land. Now, as a battery of “colonial forces” conspire against Africa’s old way of life, wizards and prophets, who are losing clients of the ordinary kind to the new Christian houses of worship, quickly adapt to the new spiritual reality, even if it only means taking funny-sounding Greek names.
The heroine in this novel, Angelina Nyangi (The Wise One) is born into the new spiritual reality at the dawn of Colonial Kenya. Born prematurely to a family of minor Luo priests, Nyangi survives only because her young father (Rajulu) ignores the advice of his father (Adoko) to “throw the “hono”(abomination) away,” and he instead seeks help in a missionary hospital. Nyangi’s father, Rajulu, soon abdicates from the Luo priesthood and becomes a Christian pastor, thanks to the influence of his wife Rachel’s prayerful Christian life. Consequently, Nyangi grows up in a family under constant religious tension, pitting her grandfather, Adoko, the priest, on one side, and the rest of the family, who have walked away from the ancestral stool, on the other. Interestingly, Nyangi becomes a target of Grandpa Adoko’s rage because in her he sees himself—a priest—except she is a girl who would walk away with his “special ancestral talents” to the land of her future husband. Hence the new rage.
Talk of bedroom evangelism, like her mother, Nyangi marries a young Seer, but she has a “soft spot” for Christianity, and she soon leads her husband, Omogi the Seer, to take a baptismal vow and a “Christian name,” Mikael, to boot. But fate soon speaks, and Nyangi becomes a widow early into her marriage. Ironically, Nyangi, a clueless daughter of a Christian pastor, suddenly becomes the guardian of a priesthood, whose Stool is struggling to remain relevant in light of a strong Christian wave sweeping through the land at the dawn of Kenya’s independence.
Nyangi lives to be ninety-four years of age, acting a Seer’s role in Kamlai; she even counsels restless politicians and other (elitist) fortune seekers who are groping for space in the treacherous multiethnic, multiparty democracy. For decades Nyangi would walk with secrets of the lowly and mighty of her time, while she awaits the nod to transfer the Stool of Wisdom to son Thomas, who is anything but priestly in his conducts. If Angelina Nyangi’s longevity has become abusive, the seedy extramarital escapades of her eldest son continue to hang around her neck like thorny chalice, with which she has to bear.
Nyangi’s lifetime experiences remind the reader that modern religious dispensations might have robbed soothsayers and wizards of a lot of clients of the ordinary kind but not the important ones: She discovers that the new political and business elites love to have their ancestors’ “sixth sense” watching over their backs. She is their ancestral sixth sense, only she is a mere counselor, and not prophet.
http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-R.Alila/e/B002QD5TDM”>http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-R.-Alila/e/B002QD5TDM