Readers travel to Africa in local author’s latest book
For Westbury author Arthur Dobrin, his latest book tackles a culture and lifestyle he knows quite well. Dobrin’s most recent novel, Kwamboka’s Inquiry, intertwines a murder-mystery narrative with short stories informed by Dobrin’s experiences in Kenya.
The novel is Dobrin’s third installment in a trilogy of narratives focused on the lives and culture of Kenyan people. Prior to his career, Dobrin and his wife, Lyn, spent two years in Kenya while serving in the Peace Corps. While there, he oversaw the educational component of the Kisii District Office of the Department of Cooperative Development.
“I had a fabulous experience in Kenya during the Peace Corps,” said Dobrin. “I went back to live there for six months with my wife and two children nine years later. Since then, I have been back and forth there many times with my family.”
Dobrin’s lasting interest in Kenya and his connection with the country is exemplified in his career. Along with his several novels and short stories written about Kenya, Dobrin is also a professor emeritus of management, entrepreneurship, and general business at Hofstra University and leader emeritus of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island. Through his academic career, he has continued his relationship with the country by leading educational safaris to Kenya for the Adelphi University School of Social Work.
“I have a deep connection with Kenya,” said Dobrin. “I sponsored an elementary school there for 15 years and also run an economic development project. The project involves teaching people how to raise bees to produce honey as a source of income.”
Dobrin and his wife’s connection to Kenya also runs in the family. Two of his children attended school in Kenya, one of them being Kenyan born.
“My kids also have a deep connection to Kenya,” Dobrin said. “Two of my children went to a local primary school there for a time. It was a lightless, windowless building with a metal roof and long tables for desks, but they still had a good experience there. It was an all-girls school, but they allowed my son to attend as the only boy. As an adult, he led educational safaris and even ended up marrying a woman from Kenya.”
Kwamboka’s Inquiry marks the third novel of Dobrin’s trilogy, which he noted was actually unintentional.
“A trilogy was not my original intention when I started writing these novels,” said Dobrin. “The character, Kwamboka, has appeared in the previous two novels and obviously is the main character of this one. Although I didn’t plan for a trilogy, it seems to have ended up that way.”
Unlike his previous novels that were published in Kenya and written for a Kenyan audience, Dobrin’s most recent work was written for an American audience. Despite its recent publication, Dobrin has already received feedback on the novel. Although it was written by an American for an American audience, Kenyans have responded positively to the recent installment.
“I have gotten positive feedback so far,” said Dobrin. “My Kenyan friends have been eager to read the book and have been asking me where they can get it. Those who have read it are very supportive and have said that the descriptions of Kenyan locations are very vivid, accurate and depict a fascinating view of life there.”
Kwamboka’s Inquiry is now available for purchase on Amazon along with his other novels. With his work in the Peace Corps, his academic career, and his work as an author, Dobrin provides an insight into Kenyan culture and continues to share his love for the country.