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President Obama's impending arrival to Nairobi is the electric backdrop to this dazzling debut, Truth is a Flightless Bird (TIFB). Yet, beneath the glittering celebrations, beats the pulse of a city aflame.

It is into this crucible that Nice (real name Theresa) lands, fleeing her Somali drug-dealer boyfriend, her brutal UN work in Mogadishu, and the life choices stalking her. So desperate is she to flee that she involves one of her oldest friends, Duncan, an American pastor heading a church in Nairobi. On the way back from the airport, their car crashes, and Nice is abducted by a crooked immigration cop, Hinga.

Duncan awakes after the car crash to find himself captive to the sociopathic Hinga, and the charmingly amoral Ciru. Plucked from his middle class bubble, Duncan must plunge into the moral complexities of the under-city to rescue Nice. But how deep can Duncan go, without destroying his faith, and himself?

TIFB is a brutal love letter to the frontier town that is present-day Nairobi: a studied observation of the the failures 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 TIFB, Hussain establishes a remarkable voice, one truly his own.