N.S. Ká¶enings's THE BLUE TAXI
Yes-big, awkward, married Sarie Turner and "Mad" Majid Ghulam Jeevanjee, the poet and small, grieving widower, begin a courtship: a true, slow, blushing courtship that burgeons into an unlikely love affair. Well, unlikely on the surface. Because what is unlikely, really, about two isolated people who wish to be noticed, who know there is more to them than what people see, and who find something in each other that makes them feel more alive? The only unlikely element is the collision that brings Sarie and Majid together.While the narrative plods at times, The Blue Taxi displays a real love of language and insight into the orchestrations of the mind. There is an understanding of the changing realities of post-independence Africa, and perhaps the novel's greatest strength is that it transmits this understanding through the characters' thoughts and actions. The fleeting moments in the unremarkable lives of a wide cast of characters in a small East African town bring into relief the larger history of a world in flux.
As both Sarie and Majid transform, their worlds widen. Everything changes and yet nothing does; things that were briefly in sharp focus become background in the everyday snapshot. There is disappointment in that, but also hope, and The Blue Taxi captures this precisely.
N.S. Ká¶enings holds a BA in African studies from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD in sociocultural anthropology from Indiana University, where she completed her MFA in fiction. She has lived in East Africa and Europe. She is currently teaching at Hampshire College, in Massachusetts. Her short stories have appeared in Story Quarterly and Glimmer Train, and her novella Setting Up Shop was released as a chapbook by the White Eagle Coffee Store Press in 2004.
Ruchi Mital lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she can be found scribbling on various flat surfaces. In Sanskrit her name means "an interest", and aptly so. She is interested. In all of it. Top interests include the dance, discoball theories, scenarios, and epic bike adventures. Ruchi's words have appeared in A Gathering of the Tribes, and, of course, on many of the world's flat surfaces.