A Tale of Exile


tall tales and all



A Tale of Exile

Literary Monuments


Audience Response

The Tale of Exile is about...
  1. For a Bowl of Porridge
  2. By the Rivers of Babylon
  3. And the Rains Came
  4. A Rumour of God
  5. At the Place Called No Return
  6. By the Hem of Your Garment
  7. Bloodsweats of Gethsemane
  8. The Cornrow Chronicles
  9. Lullabies on a Stoney Pillow
  10. The Night Before Betrayal
  11. Caucus of the Sharks

"A Tale of Exile", is a work of fiction. It is a collection of episodes in the lives of two Kenyans living in the United States, Lenana and Mumbi. Theirs is a relationship that begins in cyberspace, becoming so strong over time that it directly rips apart their physical lives, placing them in a suspended existence. Whether they ever meet physically or not is a thread of suspense that keeps running. I, the storyteller, have no idea how their lives are going to unfold with each episode. Oftentimes I'm as surprised as you.

The virtual divide is as real as the divide between their home country and their land of voluntary exile. Lenana's African-American wife, Shaniqua, becomes a victim of the "Mumbi virus" that afflicts Lenana. Mumbi, on the other hand, also becomes blind to her physical reality and to the people around her who really care, causing her to constantly "sit by the rivers of Babylon, singing her songs of Zion." They meet other intriguing characters who continue to shape their destiny, either throwing them farther apart and drawing them closer.

They both struggle to reconcile themselves to a different culture and to the emptiness that comes with the distance from home, family, and all that is spiritually meaningful to them. Their journey is a struggle through loneliness, fear, betrayal, and death in a foreign land. As Mumbi tells her mothers, "Something gets lost out there in that wilderness, Mama. And while you mourn the loss of that something, you keep looking to replace it with something else." It is also a tale of historical and present-day realities, infused with spiritual metaphor and hope that lifts up the ever searching human spirit.


Mkawasi Mcharo Hall

Note: The nature of the storyteller's original audience - an Internet readership - necessitated and inspired the episodic formatting where each part, though a continuation of the other, seems complete on its own as a short tale, woven around a specific metaphor that begins and ends therein.


© mkmc