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Three Graywolf Titles Longlisted for the National Book Awards: Abundance by Jakob Guanzon for Fiction, The Twilight Zone by Nona Fernández for Translated Literature, and The Wild Fox of Yemen by Threa Almontaser for Poetry

Book Title

The House of Rust

A Novel
Author 1
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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5.5 x 8.25
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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  • “Bajaber’s writing is matter-of-fact and gem-cut. . . . This debut carries the invigorating mystery of the sea, its unpredictable leap and roil.”Vulture
  • “Bajaber’s writing, imaginative and poetic, brings us to the wrenching heart of Aisha’s coming of age.”—Lit Hub
  • “Bajaber’s depictions of Aisha’s daring episodes and her feminist personality consistently shimmer. Fans of modern fairy tales will find much to appreciate.”Publishers Weekly
  • “This is a novel of tradition, ritual, and mystical adventure. . . . [A] tale rife with creatures and immersed in the Hadrami culture of Kenya.”Kirkus Reviews
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