The wobbly giraffes doing the splits next to my bed reveal my recent bedtime narrative. Subconsciously and adrift, I appear to have amassed a week long collection of literary conquests, scampering around on my bookshelf. So, after placing them apologetically back on their communal bed — their shelf — I unpacked the delivery of Binyavanga Wainaina’s book, One Day I Will Write About This Place.
Opening in Kenya in the late 1970s, the birth of the story sees Wainaina at his most playful. A young boy of seven is recollected in acrobatic and staccato sentences. He exchanges tangential poetic imagery — imbued with colour and lucidity — with structurally orientating map pins, which place you within the geography of the narrative. These pins serve as pricks for departure, and for the divergences and plasticity of his imagination and attention as “the shape” of his ideas start to “form. There is air, there is water, there is glass. Wind moving fast gives form to air; water moving fast gives it form. Maybe … maybe glass is water moving at superspeed, like on television, when a superhero moves so fast, faster than blurring, he comes back a thousand times before you see him move.”
- One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina
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