Coming to Birth

The Feminist Press at CUNY
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In this quietly powerful and eminently readable novel, winner of the prestigious Sinclair Prize, Kenyan writer Marjorie Macgoye deftly interweaves the story of one young woman’s tumultuous coming of age with the history of a nation emerging from colonialism.

At the age of sixteen, Paulina leaves her small village in western Kenya to join her new husband, Martin, in the bustling city of Nairobi. It is 1956, and Kenya is in the final days of the "Emergency," as the British seek to suppress violent anti-colonial revolts.

But Paulina knows little about, about city life, or about marriage, and Martin’s clumsy attempts to control her soon lead to a relationship filled with silences, misunderstandings, and unfulfilled expectations. Soon Paulina’s inability to bear a child effectively banishes her from the confines of traditional women’s roles. As her country at last moves toward independence, Paulina manages to achieve a kind of independence as well: She accepts a job that will require her to live separately from her husband, and she has an affair that leads to the birth of her first child. But Paulina’s hard-won contentment will be shattered when Kenya’s turbulent history intrudes into her private life, bringing with it tragedy—and a new test of her quiet courage and determination.

Paulina’s patient struggles for survival and identity are revealed through Marjorie Macgoye’s keen and sensitive vision—a vision which extends to embrace the whole of a nation and a people likewise struggling to find their way. As the Weekly Standard of Kenya notes, "Coming to Birth is a radical novel in firmly asserting our common humanity."
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About the author

Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye (1928-2015) was one of the most prolific women writers, not only in Kenya, but also in Africa. She has distinguished herself as a writer of novels, poetry, and children's stories. She was born in Southampton, England, and came to Kenya as a missionary bookseller in 1954. She married D.G.W. Macgoye in 1960 and subsequently integrated into her husband's extended family and the Luo community. This feature is well manifested in her literary works which have been acknowledged all over the world. Coming to Birth won the Sinclair Prize for fiction in 1986, while Homing In won second place in the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in 1985.
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Additional Information

Publisher
The Feminist Press at CUNY
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Published on
Dec 1, 2000
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9781558617070
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / African American / Contemporary Women
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Literary
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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