Jackson Biko, aka @Bikozulu, is a writer and an award-winning blogger. In his novella called Drunk, we meet Larry, a man who is the embodiment of success. He is employed in the best advertising agency in Nairobi. He has many friends. Women succumb easily to his charms. But he has a tendency to escape relationships the moment they become serious. Also, Larry hates his father who never took care of him, so, he has a big issue with commitment. When his boss decides to promote him, he reluctantly accepts. Now he has to wear suits and pretend to be a manager.
He feels trapped. He forgets to show up for important meetings. His drinking gets worse.
On weekends, he goes to Kafunda, a bar in Dagoretti. Page 82: “This bar has never christened. Nobody knows what it was called previously, its history is long and as opaque as the eyes that peer through its dinginess. We all just call it Kafunda, lovingly. It’s like a family of sorts, this bar, and a place where men come here to feed the monkeys off their backs. It’s a big room of frustrations, yes, but it’s also filled with insane mirth and camaraderie. We all know each other by one name”.
There is Maish, who used to work for an NGO, Nduko, a very skinny guy, Jimmy, an accountant, Paul a businessman in printing, John, a banker and Anto who works at City Hall.
Slowly, Larry sinks into a hole. He loses his job, his wallet, his phone, his friends, his dignity, his sex-appeal. People turn their backs on him, except his brother and mother who try to convince him to go to rehab. He refuses until he reaches a point of no return.
In this book, Jackson Biko explores a theme – masculinity and alcoholism – that is rarely talked about. It is witty, brilliantly written, and the story is gripping. Despite the tragic destiny of Larry, the author manages to make us smile often.
Like page 61: “The same day he finished the wheelbarrows is the same day Larry had a conversation with Lance about alcoholism. This information might be of no relevance at all, so ignore it. Go back to your lives. Eat an apple”.
Drunk, Jackson Biko. Published by the author.
My favourite line:
“Are you happy with who you are now?”, I asked him, slightly slurring my words after my fifth double (lunch was taking too long, okay). “You can change your mind, now, it’s easier to change your mind now than when you have five kids and you are fat and she is fat and you have a mortgage and gout”.
A review of his book in the Business Daily: