The Dragonfly Sea – hardback


From the award-winning author of Dust comes a magical, sea-saturated, coming-of-age novel that transports readers from Kenya to China and Turkey.

The Dragonfly Sea transported me at a time I really wanted to be transported. Lyrical, compassionate, and deeply original, it has stayed with me, and is the novel I have most enjoyed this year.

Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland and The Boy in the Topknot

Also available in paperback.

SKU: 9781912836475 Categories: ,

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One of the most unforgettable books I have read in the last few years … What a writer! What a thinker! What a woman!’

Fiammetta Rocco


‘One of Africas most exciting voices … The Dragonfly Sea is a continent-hopping novel of epic proportions.


On an island in the Lamu Archipelago lives a solitary, stubborn child called Ayaana and her mother, Munira. When a sailor, Muhidin, enters their lives, the child finds something she has never had before: a father. But as Ayaana grows into adulthood, forces of nature and history begin to reshape her life, leading her to distant countries and fraught choices. Selected as a descendant of long-ago Chinese shipwrecked sailors Ayaana is sent to study in China. Leaving her resourceful single mother, she is forced to grow up fast.

Whether it’s the scarred captain of the Chinese shipping container that transports Ayaana or the son of Turkish shipping magnate who trades in refugees, Owuor never loses a profound sense of empathy for her characters. She evokes a fascinating kind of beauty in this dangerous, chaotic world and its ever-shifting oceans and trade.

Told with a glorious lyricism, The Dragonfly Sea is a transcendent story of love and adventure, and of the inexorable need for shelter in a dangerous world.

‘A daring and compelling novel, evocative and lavishly detailed.’

Abdulrazak Gurnah, author of Afterlives


‘This lushly written epic of contemporary cultural clashes and world politics is as magically enveloping as a fairy tale.’ 



‘Owuor writes in heart-stopping bursts of imagery and retooled language . . . gloriously unique.’

Vanity Fair


‘Owuor’s rich prose makes a pointed commentary in this novel about interconnectedness, however unlikely it may seem.’

C. A. Davids, Guardian

Read an extract.

Also available in ebook.