Set in Toronto and Addis Ababa, my first novel Daughters of Silence (Goose Lane Editions, Fall 2019), tells the story of Dessie, a flight attendant, who, shortly after her mother’s death in Canada, finds herself stranded in her birth place, Ethiopia, due to the ash and smoke from the volcano in Iceland that closed the skies to air travel in 2010. Duty commands her to pay her respects to her grandfather, the Shaleqa, as soon as she arrives, but Dessie’s conflicted past stands in her way. The family holds multiple secrets, and just as the volcano’s eruption disordered Dessie’s work life, so does her mother’s death cause cataclysmic disruptions in the fine balance of self-deceptions, lies, and false histories that characterize the relationships among Dessie’s family members. From the trauma of Italy’s invasion to the shame of unwed motherhood, and abuse that meets with silence, Dessie pieces together the mystery of her mother’s life, and through that process, comes to terms with her own.
Psychologically astute, and filled with metaphor, wisdom, and the vibrant colours of Ethiopian life, Daughters of Silence will satisfy readers of Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.
- Read or listen to an audio recording of an excerpt here.
- Read about why I wrote it & why Goose Lane Editions acquired it here!
- Watch this interview from Dec 2015, regarding an early draft of the manuscript.