The World is Ours is a coming-of-age story following the lives of Ameena, Shenzi and Kevin. It is set in four countries: Uganda, Kenya, Congo and the USA which gives insight into the sights and sounds of these spaces while relaying vital information about what transpires in politics, mining, streetlife, family and money matters.
The novel is divided into four books/parts with each book exploring the transition of the characters: Books one and two explore the life of Ameena while books three and four focus on Shenzi and Kevin.
The four books are interlinked to create a powerful, poignant story with strong thematic areas of love and loss, betrayal, culture and gender, tradition, politics, and dominion.
The author through flashbacks skillfully reveals vital information about her characters which enhances the character and plot development.
The book’s narration is through multiple voices which aptly captures the character`s emotions and perspective. The reader is not quick to judge them thus defying the danger of a single story as Chimamanda admonishes.
The plot is character-driven with the vital characters well fleshed out. However, I would have liked to see more of the lives of Boda and Livingstone, Kevin`s right-hand men on the streets. They seemed to remain in the shadows like they didn’t fit into Kevin’s rich clique. What became of them? Were they jealous of Kevin and his new friends? Did they grumble about not attending his big parties? Did they become dissatisfied with the new and old Kevin?
The novel is rich with information about Somali culture and folklore which enriched it greatly. Readers will have an opportunity to learn something new upon reading this book.
The sex scenes were skillfully executed drawing a balance between sex as we know it (ordinary, missionary style) and sex in its new shapes and forms with a woman not afraid to ask for it. In some African contexts, women aim to please the men while holding themselves back but in this case, Ameena sought to please and be pleased. It was liberating for her to desire and explore sex and the different sex styles.
The novel is well-researched and provides great insights into mining in Congo. It is no wonder that with all the minerals the country has, it is still ravaged by poverty. The World is Ours gives insight into what and how capitalists are profiting from gold with the help of the locals. I felt like I understood how it all works.
The novel also reveals inside information about Kampala street life. As one who has seen street kids in Kampala, I wondered how the streets worked. Though fictional, the novel weaves a believable tale of what life is like for them.
The language is beautifully peppered with humour in both English and Luganda, therefore, making the story palatable. The novel is fast-paced and compelling. However, some parts of the novel dragged on and weighed down the book.
The World Is Ours is a perfect blend of romance and adventure with the right dosage of plot twists to get you desiring to fling the novel away or humphing in exasperation at the choices of the characters. The ending was superb. It felt like the perfect way to end an endless plot full of dark twists and turns.