Kipligat's Chance by David Odhiambo St. Martin's Press, October 2004 $12.95, ISBN 0-312-32954-7
With this work, David Odhiambo, a Canada-based Kenyan writer, joins a third guard of African novelists made up of peers like Uganda's Moses Isegawa and Nigeria's Chris Abani. The books of this younger generation of African writers (heirs to the continent's greats from Chinua Achebe to Mark Mathabane) shed the starched language and steep romanticism of Africa's literary tradition to expose the rawer, hipper, more vulgar aspects of life as lived by most Africans today.
Writing wry with wit and a clever vocabulary, Odhiambo offers prose that is as in touch with hip-hop's language as it is with British colloquialisms. With an essayist's eye, be brushes topics from immigration and drug abuse in Canada to government harassment and corruption in Africa. A dexterous novelist, Odhiambo achieves a profound story that manages to maintain a light heart.
Kipligat's Chance develops in the thoughts and memory of John "Leeds" Kipligat, a 17-year-old Kenyan emigre to Canada. Layered with plot...