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Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and Percival Everett's Telephone has been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The House of Rust

A Novel
Khadija Abdalla Bajaber
The House of Rust is an enchanting novel about a Hadrami girl in Mombasa. When her fisherman father goes missing, Aisha takes to the sea on a magical boat made of a skeleton to rescue him. She is guided by a talking scholar’s cat (and soon crows, goats, and other animals all have their say, too). On this journey Aisha meets three terrifying sea monsters. After she survives a final confrontation with Baba wa Papa, the father of all sharks, she rescues her own father, and hopes that life will return to normal. But at home, things only grow stranger. Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s debut is a fabulist coming-of-age tale told through the lens of the Swahili and diasporic Hadrami culture in Mombasa, Kenya. Richly descriptive and written with an imaginative hand and sharp eye for unusual detail, The House of Rust is a memorable novel by a thrilling new voice.

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The first Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize winner, a story of a girl’s fantastical sea voyage to rescue her father

About the Author

Khadija Abdalla  Bajaber
Khadija Abdalla Bajaber is a Mombasarian writer of Hadrami descent and the winner of the inaugural Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in Enkare Review, Lolwe, and Down River Road among other places. She lives in Mombasa, Kenya.
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  • “A novel stuffed to bursting with marvels and fairy-tale delights. Khadija Abdalla Bajaber casts a mighty spell.”—Kelly Link

  • “What an enchanting novel. Khadija Abdalla Bajaber has written a magical tale filled with eccentric characters who are sure to endure in the halls of literature. Here is a new writer of fierce powers, who thrills and delights.”—Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
  • The House of Rust is as labyrinthine, magical and multilayered as Mombasa itself. . . . An astonishing and exhilarating debut.”—Shailja Patel
  • “Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s command of language and story is transcendent. The House of Rust is an immersive experience in Kenyan mythology, and an honest exploration of loss and family from a uniquely talented writer.”—Wayétu Moore

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