“You mustn’t appear nervous; fear and doubt are read the exact same way.”

Genre: Fiction
Published: 2019
Publisher: Book Bunk
Pages: 364
Rate: 4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads Synopsis
2007, Kenya

Long held captive by her father’s shadow of corruption, Kavata has spent her life suffocated by political machinations. When her husband decides to run in the next election, these shadows threaten to consume her home. Unable to bear this darkness,
Kavata plots to escape.

As her family falls apart, so too does her country. In the wake of Kenya’s post-election turmoil, Kavata and her family must find their way back to each other across a landscape of wide-spread confusion, desperation, and heartrending loss.

Koinange explores the long reaching effects of colonisation and corruption within the context of a singular household and the disparate experiences of class and clan they encapsulate.

“Until we all learn to live as stateless individuals, we will never be free.”

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was sent to me by the publisher for review but all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

My Take
I still can’t believe The Havoc of Choice is a debut book. Its so incredibly written that I completely forgot its Wanjiru Koinange’s first book.

The Havoc of Choice is such a riveting book, with a plot that is so chilling, I remember reading certain parts and getting goosebumps & my heart racing, fast! The book hit a little close to home for me. Do you remember where you were during the 2007/8 Post Election Violence (PEV)? My family and I were living in Kisumu, and Wanjiru captures it all wonderfully. I found the prose easy to follow, and I love how the author uses language to make sure as the reader I understood the situation and the undertones. I also liked the fact that she often used Kiswahili and Sheng with the characters and didn’t feel the need explain herself. It felt relatable.

The characters are written in such a vivid way with strong personalities that makes their presence known in the book, and missed when not seen. From the main characters, Kavata and Ngugi, to the secondary characters such as Schola and Cheptoo. We get to see how each of their actions, both major and minor, affect them and those around them and it makes for such a thrilling book to see how it all unfolds. They make the book feel so really and for a moment I forgot I was reading a work of fiction.

The book is heavy with the violence that happened during that period & I got triggered with the simplest of sentences, like Anne at the supermarket bulk buying for fear of food shortage & not knowing when she’ll get out of the house again, that same case happened to us back then & it took me back to that at Nakumatt in a long line not knowing when it would end. For me the book was personal, and some sort of cathartic release that I welcomed wholly. I absolutely loved it. Weird as that may sound.

The Havoc of Choice is a Kenyan book written by a Kenyan for Kenyans, I’d say. I have this need to make everyone read and I hope if you haven’t done so already, to get yourself a copy. I can comfortably say its one of my best reads of this year. I highly recommend.

Have you read the book? What did you think about it?