Cover image for Coming to birth
Coming to birth
Macgoye, Marjorie Oludhe.
Personal Author:
First Feminist Press edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2000.

Physical Description:
198 pages ; 22 cm.
Geographic Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In this quietly powerful and eminently readable novel, Kenyan writer Marjorie Macgoye deftly interweaves the story of one young woman's tumultuous coming of age with the history of a nation emerging from colonialism. At the age of sixteen, Paulina leaves her small, traditional Luo village in western Kenya to join her new husband, Martin Were, in the bustling, multi-tribal city of Nairobi. It is 1956, and Kenya is in the final days of the 'Emergency' as the British seek to suppress violent anti-colonial revolts. Paulina knows little about politics, and even less about city life. On her second day in Nairobi, she is naive enough to think she can easily find her way home across the vast city, as she always could in her village. Her traumatic journey, which in fact takes two days and two nights, earns her a beating from Martin: Marriage, too, is new to Paulina, and while she is anxious to learn the ways of a proper wife, Martin's clumsy attempts to control her soon lead to a relationship filled with silences, misunderstandings, and unfulfilled expectations.Paulina accepts a job teaching women at a community centre, which will require her to live separately from her husband, and she has an affair that leads to the birth of her first child. But Paulina's hard-won contentment will be shattered when Kenya's turbulent history intrudes once again into her private life, bringing with it tragedy--and a new test of her quiet courage and determination.

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