Why We Acquired This! Rinsing Mükami's Soul by Njambi McGrath

‘Known to tackle tough subjects with wit, intelligence and delicacy, Njambi’s forthcoming novel does not disappoint as it boldly asks us to question why girls and women are often left to fight for justice from lonely places in societies that prefer them silenced.’ 

Valerie Brandes

There are stories that you just cannot pass up reading, sharing with your team and then jumping to acquire, and for us, Rinsing Mũkami’s Soul is one of those stories.
Of course, there was the fact that we already knew the prowess of Njambi McGrath's writing through the brilliance that is her memoir Through the Leopard’s Gaze, but this book, as her first foray into fiction, was as unmissable as her memoir had been.
What made this novel so special for us is what 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing Award winner Makena Onjerika notes, that Rinsing Mũkami’s Soul ‘is both extended metaphor and identifiably Kenyan’.
Beyond the character of Mũkami, whose endearing innocence invites us into a world and space that is brutal because of its narrative history and present, is the cultural grounding that underpins the narrative. The specificity and authenticity McGrath imbues into the novel allows us to stay and contend with its realities, creating a visceral and personalised reading experience.
McGrath’s commitment to telling Kenyan stories is evident in the weaving of Gĩkũyũ mythology into the story. It allows this story that tackles universal themes of sexual assault, abortion, homelessness, sex work, poverty, girlhood, femalehood and redemption, to be underpinned by cultural nuance. Yes, the themes are universal, but the solutions, options and ways in which each experience is navigated are built on context and out of Mũkami herself. 
Rinsing Mũkami’s Soul, with its minutely defined worlds and expressive protagonist, was the exact kind of book we wanted to publish at Jacaranda. A book so firmly in its own point of view that it requires the reader to open their mind and begin to understand the underpinning of their own mindset.
Rinsing Mükami's Soul is out in the UK 22.02.2024