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Place of Cool Waters
Nidrangu Githaiga. Ndirangu Githaiga, $13.99 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-73504-174-2
The satisfactory latest from Githaiga (Ten Thousand Rocks) follows a young Black man raised by an adoptive family in Washington State and a Somali orphan trying to find his way in Kenya. As a boy, Jude Wilson enjoys camping with his father and thrives as a Boy Scout. After college, he settles in Seattle, where he deals with a racist supervisor who unfairly criticizes his work (a white colleague proves it by swapping their names on their reports, but the naive Jude is slow to accept the truth). In a parallel narrative, Qadir Mohamed, a Somali orphan in Nairobi, deals with Kafkaesque requests for paperwork before he can attend college. Later, in 2013, he experiences anti-Somali prejudice from Kenyans after Somali terrorists attack a shopping center. After Jude’s former scouting mate dies from cancer, he decides to pursue his dream of visiting Boy Scouts founder Lord Baden-Powell’s grave in Kenya. On the way to the remote grave site, Jude is robbed and abandoned by his driver. He finds help from a stranger and later learns of a connection between himself and Qadir, who happens to manage the hostel he’s staying at. Though the plot is a bit contrived and the timeline is confusing, Githaiga effectively builds a series of crisis points as the characters navigate their lives. This is worth a look. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 03/31/2023

Release date 08/01/2022