Margaret Muthee’s A Season for Mending is a collection of 14 short stories published by Bahati Books. This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

Margaret Muthee is a Kenyan journalist and writer and has had a few short stories published on a number of literary platforms including Brittle Paper and Writivism.

Out of the 14 stories in this collection, I would say my favourite is A Perfect Send Off. This is the story of a family preparing for a less than perfect mother, Jane’s funeral. It revolves around Sifa who is the older of Jane’s two daughters. Family drama ensues and secrets come unraveled as Sifa juggles both emotions of loss and anger at the fact that her sister has disappeared in the middle of funeral arrangements.

My second favourite story is The Miracle Baby.

This story opens with a baby being discovered at the gates to a workplace. Our unnamed narrator takes us through a day in his work life with his colleagues Alex, Odindo and Indian supervisor Patel. Through a series of comedic events we find out who the father of the abandoned baby is, as it is assumed that the he, whoever he is, works among them.

Last on my list of favourites but by no means the least favourite – bear with me on this one – is the collection’s title story, A Season for Mending. It is the story of a Kenyan couple and they are fighting over the credit the husband gives his mother’s thoughts about his wife. A constant conflict between wife and daughter-in-law reveals deeper issues in their marriage.

Sign Up! Be the first to know when I post.

So what do I think about this collection?

I thought it was great. The stories were fresh – the colourful array of characterization and the sensitivity with which Margaret Muthee handled the topic of Loss. This was evident in her story, A Perfect Send Off, as she uses relatable imageries. However, I felt she did not explore the perspectives of her other characters in this story under the prevailing circumstance of Loss.

Miracle Baby had some fluff. For instance, there was a section our narrator went off on a tangent about his history with Odindo. It neither helped me appreciate neither his character nor Odindo’s so might as well not have been there altogether.

A Season for Mending engaged me the most but also infuriated me (as only a Nollywood movie starring Patience Nzokwo would) with all the mother-in-law drama. The end had the conflict too conveniently resolved, in my opinion. It need not be a happily-ever-after ending but it does need to be agreeble – even if an ex machina must be deployed.

In all, I enjoyed the collection and I look forward to seeing more of Muthee’s works – especially in a novel form as I believe it will give her more real estate to develop fuller arc that allow for a longer timelines for well-rounded characterization.

Leave a Comment