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Intriguing story highlights family challenges and possibilities of healing

Mirror of Blood (Moran Publishers, 2020) is a narrative anchored in a twin crime of poor work ethics and the allure of money. The protagonist, Jimmy Kahiu, goes to be trained as a medical doctor in India and whilst there falls in love with a beautiful Indian woman, Parminder Kaur. Although they struggle with the challenges bedecking a mixed-race marriage, their love weathers the storm and they eventually travel back to Kenya where they settle down to a promising young family. The serenity in their marriage is too good to be true and the reader feels like there is a pulsating throb of trouble coursing deep somewhere and daring to rear its ugly head the soonest possible!

Indeed, trouble comes knocking and when it does its downhill all the way. For starters, Kahiu is unable to resist the flashy life of a fellow doctor, Gitaruku, who drives the latest models of cars and is rumoured to have bought a huge mansion in a leafy suburb. What begins as a curious intrigue on the part of Kahiu ends up being the doctor’s Achille’s heel when he gets entrapped into an immoral world of procuring illegal abortions for the sake of money. Kahiu’s conscience troubles him but the greed for money seems to drive him further away from his humanity.

Eventually when the wife gets a whiff of what is happening, she pleads with him and tries to dissuade him. However, it is already too late and Kahiu has capitulated and gotten stuck into procuring abortions and over-drinking to compensate for tortured lost soul. The lost family time and the guilt Kahiu experiences from lying and not being able to remember simple matters makes it easy for the wife to establish what the husband has been up to.

This is a story that is crafted in an intricate way so that when the wife gets an opportunity to travel to India for a short holiday with the daughter, Cleopatra, this is the time Kahiu takes the plunge into procuring the abortions. His morality degenerates when he conducts the illegal business in the guest room of his family house.

When the wife travels back and confronts him, Kahiu cannot lie anymore, and he pleads that he will stop the acts. Unfortunately, the wife cannot bear the burden of the husband’s confession and she takes off with the daughter, only to discover a few days afterwards that she is expectant with their second child. When she decides to share the news with Kahiu in a move meant to reconcile them, ironically it also happens to be the day that Kahiu has promised to conduct his last abortion.

As fate would have it, she catches him red-handed in the act. Sadly, the patient dies and Kahiu is imprisoned for seven years. Afterwards, he degenerates into a hopeless alcoholic and inhabits a dingy settlement for a home. This is as a result of the withdrawal of his practicing licence that renders him unable to start a business or get employed.

For some reason, he one night, stumbles upon an abandoned infant when he wakes up in a gutter into which he had fallen whilst drunk. The baby becomes his saving grace when his fatherly instinct strikes and he becomes possessive of the child when the authorities and the children’s homes reject it. This baby, whom he names Moses, eventually turns out to be his grandson in a surprising twist of events.

Kahiu recovers from alcoholism. Dr Omunga, an old-time friend, helps him get back on his feet and eventually Kahiu is able to obtain his licence and resume practicing. His estranged wife, Parminder aka Waceke traces him, and the rest is a fairy tale that ends happily thereafter. The family is reunited, the old wounds are forgiven, and the reader can only hope that the lessons learnt will last the characters their life time.

Both Cleopatra and Krishna, their children, meet and bond with Moses and the reader discovers the circumstances under which Cleopatra gave birth to Moses. It is an intriguing story that highlights contemporary family upheavals and the possibility of transcending not just physical socio-economic barriers but psychosocial ones too.

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