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Smells Like Stars


Journalist Kerstin Ostheim and freelance photographer P.J. Banner have been together six months after meeting on a dating website. As their wedding fast approaches, they question their compatibility while investigating mysterious horse killings taking place in Ogweyo's Cove, the Pacific tourist haven where they live.

In the meantime, Schuld Ostheim, Kerstin's transgender daughter from her first marriage, is preparing for an art exhibit after being hospitalized for a physical assault while her boyfriend, Woloff, an Olympic medalist in the 1500m, comes to terms with a career-ending knee injury. As Kerstin and P.J. get closer to the truth about the dead horses, they also begin to more clearly see each other. Simultaneously, Schuld's and Woloff's pasts come back to haunt them, jeopardizing their sense of a possible future.

Ultimately, Smells Like Stars draws attention to what is hidden in plain sight, what cruelties life presents, and what struggles we face in our search for meaning.


"An unforgettable portrait of what we lose through our craving to win, Smells like Stars is filled with heart and passion. The story grips to the very last page." —Billie Livingston, author of The Crooked Heart of Mercy and the Giller Prize longlisted novel One Good Hustle

"In D. Nandi Odhiambo's absorbing and beautiful novel Smells Like Stars resides a sharply humane wisdom, smart and timely, that is couched in a lyricism both edgy and elegant. His dynamic scenes and taut pacing nerve straight to the heart of his characters' complex loves. Odhiambo is a singular writer." —Elise Levine, author of Requests and Dedications and Driving Men Mad


D. Nandi Odhiambo is the author of three novels: diss/ed banded nations (1998), Kipligat's Chance (2003) and The Reverend's Apprentice (2008). Originally from Nairobi Kenya, Nandi moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in the 1970s. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a PhD in English from the University of Hawai'i, Manoa. Currently Nandi lives in O'ahu, Hawai'i, with his wife Carmen and two dogs, where he works as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Hawai'i, West O'ahu.

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