In Muthoni Garland's Of Love and Insects, published in the current issue of Per Contra, Doreen needs extra time off work in order to deal with the challenges of a family devastated by AIDS. And she struggles with a crippling preoccupation with insects and contagion.
Here's an extract
The black dots on the carpet reminded her of long-ago helicopter beetles. When she and her brother, Caleb, had caught the fat black lazy fliers, they tied the legs with string. And raising skinny arms, they twirled the beetles around and round buzzing like helicopters. Caleb and Doreen stared up at the blur of insect and string until it seemed the sky was closing in, and God, the God of Sunday school – oh be careful little hands what you do - would knock them on the head. And laughing for all of Africa, they’d fall to the ground, onto that worn dusty clearing, dizzy and uncaring that Mama would scold about their filthy clothes, especially her, the eldest daughter – Yawa nyamama!, and make them scrub their bodies with loofah.
- Read Of Love and Insects in full.
Muthoni Garland, a Kenyan writer shortlisted for the 2006 Caine prize, has strong Nigerian connections. You can also read another short story by her - The Obituary Man - in Kwani?
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