Cassava Republic Press has announced Mukoma wa Ngügî’s “very exciting forthcoming novel, Unbury Our Dead With Song” which it will publish in the UK on June 20, 2021 and worldwide: July 22, 2021.
In Unbury Our Dead With Song, Mukoma wa Ngügî pays homage to Tizita music (African Blues). This is a novel he has described as his love letter to “music, beauty and imagination”. Mukoma’s sixth literary offering and second fiction novel, it begins in Nairobi and moves beautifully into Ethiopia; the home of Tizita music, following four artistes, competing to discover who can play the best Tizita dogged by US educated, Kenyan journalist John Thandi Manfredi.
Aminatta Forna describesthe book as “part mystery, part road novel, part philosophical enquiry [that] resonates deeply with emotion: loss, grief, despair, desire, love and hope, much like the tizita itself.”
Mukoma brings his track record as a writer of crime fiction to the storytelling of Unbury Our Dead With Song, adopting the noir tone in bringing to life the characters of The Diva, The Corporal, The Taliban Man, Miriam and the shadowy figure of John Thandi Manfredi, who follows their competition from Kenya to Ethiopia.
Unbury Our Dead with Song Aminatta Forna adds, is a dazzling journey to discover the meaning of music and its immense power over the human soul. “Set against a background of war and murky politics, Mukoma wa’ Ngugi’s novel resonates deeply with emotion: loss, grief, despair, desire, love and hope, much like the tizitaitself.”
The juke joints and raucous parties that mark the battlefield for the musicians from Mukoma’s imagination contrast with the idyllic Ethiopian countryside that welcomes the travellers in from Kenya. This is a story that presents the rural and urban of Ethiopia and paints a textured and layered picture of the largest and most populous country in the Horn of Africa.
As a collision of music, literature and travel, Unbury Our Dead With Song is a story that will spark imaginations and inspire readers to fall in love again with the power of literature to amalgamate and humanise all the quirks of the creative sector.
Currently Mukoma is Associate Professor of English at Cornell University and resident of Ithaca, New York.