The Kibera family to which author Ngumi Kibera belongs has been described as an unusual one with the gift of spinning yarns, producing writers of intense passion. But the family name aside, Ngumi Kibera as a writer is quite simply in a class of his own. He is an accomplished writer, with several books to his credit. His book Grapevine Staries won the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature.
Beyond the darkness is a heartfelt, deeply distressing and immensely compassionate look at life in the Dusty Valley, a city slum and a dark dungeon. It is an intriguing story. Intriguing because for a young girl to run away from home in the dead of the night in the Dusty Valley is not exactly like taking a leisure stroll on the beach or taking a ride around the estate. The Valley was not safe for anyone even during the day. It was also home a blossoming number of underworld criminals equally keen on staying alive and not too particular about the means... from the nervous pickpocket to the unflinching robber, smugglers, carjackers, hit men for hire, they were all there cradled in its comforting bosom, living an uneasy co-existence.
So it is no small feat when young Gloria dares all the forces of wickedness on one particularly dark night as the thunder threatens to tear her into shreds. She quickly realises that walking on any path in that Valley at night was very dangerous, almost fatal as she brushes shoulders with rapists and other perverted people. What will become of Gloria, a girl with a frightful upbringing? Will she find a home away from home like a swallow, which for the first time leaves the shore to find no rest until it has passed with weary wing the long leagues of purple sea? Will she survive her difficult childhood? Will she ever live to fulfil her dreams?
In this novel, Ngumi makes startling observations, is unprecedented in his frankness and overturning of myths. His razor-sharp plot and adrenaline-filled action brings to life an ordinary day in the life of people struggling to survive in the midst of grinding poverty.
Creation date: 2012-09-02