Truth Is a Flightless Bird

Nice, an eccentric UN worker, involved in the dangerous world of her drug trafficking boyfriend in Mogadishu, is kidnapped by Hinga, a corrupt police officer working for drug lords, and Ciru, a complicated woman with a tragic past of her own. Her old flame Duncan, a white American pastor, in an attempt to save her is uprooted from his expat middle-class bubble and forced to navigate the moral complexities of the Nairobi underground fraught with characters fighting for survival. Set against the impending arrival of President Obama to Kenya, Truth is a Flightless Bird, a crime novel, is an exploration of colonialism and current imperial and capitalist structures that create and perpetuate violence. Truth is a Flightless Bird is a brutal love letter to the frontier town that is present-day Nairobi: a studied observation of the failure of bare-knuckled capitalism, the inequality machines our cities have become, and— ultimately—the profoundly irrational human capacity to hope, to risk everything in order to have something in which to believe. With Truth is a Flightless Bird, Hussain establishes a remarkable voice, one truly his own.

ISBN: 9781957810034


300 pages


$ 25.00 USD

Praise and reviews

“Truth is a Flightless Bird is an intriguing mystery about the drugs trade and the people caught up in it. It’s a fascinating insight into Nairobi, from the vibrant rich quarters to the poverty ridden streets… There’s a strong story here, grounded, at times in some shocking insights. The setting, mostly Nairobi, is brilliantly observed… Akbar Hussain is very good at demonstrating how for people will go for the promise of a better life.”

– Crime Fiction Lover

"Hussain’s Truth is A Flightless Bird is a fast-paced story set in an African city that never sleeps. Like the characters of the novel, he manages to capture a city that’s as unpredictable as it is memorable. A noteworthy debut"

– Laurence Daren King, author, Boxy and Star

"Truth Is a Flightless Bird is a compelling thriller that blends literary and noir elements into a harrowing character study of three flawed people in blind pursuit of an unobtainable future." JOHN M. MURRAY


About the author

A lawyer and co-founder of a successful fintech startup, Akbar Hussain lived in Nairobi for 7 years and currently resides in New York.

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