A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa ThiongoSet in the wake of the Mau Mau rebellion and on the cusp of Kenyas independence from Britain, A Grain of Wheat follows a group of villagers whose lives have been transformed by the 1952–1960 Emergency. At the center of it all is the reticent Mugo, the villages chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret. As we learn of the villagers tangled histories in a narrative interwoven with myth and peppered with allusions to real-life leaders, including Jomo Kenyatta, a masterly story unfolds in which compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed, and loves are tested.
Dreams in a Time of War by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
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Hi, Saryu You have explained the thing very well. All themes you have covered. And you gave the quotes also to support your argument. Indeed wonderful analysis but am not sure whether this book is from Southern Africa. Yes, of course it is wonderful analysis and explanations about this beautiful novel, as well as he presented quotes from the novel.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o's first novel in his mother tongue, Gikuyu, was written in a Kenyan jail on lavatory paper while he was a prisoner of conscience in Devil on the Cross, a satire on Kenya's kleptocracy, gets a humorous nod in his latest novel, whose eponymous "wizard" finds a man reading aloud from it in a crowded bar. The wizard is awed by a "talemonger" who can hold an audience so spellbound that "some of them had even forgotten that they had come here to drink". Wizard of the Crow, originally serialised, was also partly destined to be read aloud, as much like a piece of theatre as fiction; Ngugi is also a playwright. But after he renounced his Christian name and staged plays in the language of Kenya's largest ethnic group, he was jailed and forced into exile - he now lives in California. Prison cemented his resolve to write fiction only in Gikuyu. His new novel is set in the Free Republic of Aburiria, a fictitious African dictatorship that owes much to the Kenya of Ngugi's erstwhile persecutor, former president Daniel arap Moi.
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A Grain of Wheat chronicles the events leading up to Kenyan independence, or Uruhu, in a Kenyan village. Gikonyo and Mumbi are newlyweds in love when Gikonyo is sent to detention. When he comes back six years later, Mumbi has carried and given birth to his rival's child. Instead of talking about their trials, a wall of anger separates them. Mumbi's brother Kihika, a local hero, is captured and hanged, and his comrades search for the betrayer. Mugo becomes a hero through leading a hunger strike in detention, and the town wants him to become a political leader. Mugo, though, struggles with guilt and ultimately confesses that he betrayed Kihika.
T he early novels of Ngugi wa Thiong'o were revolutionary in depicting the terror of the s state of emergency in colonial Kenya through the eyes of Kenyan civilians. A Grain of Wheat offered a subtler portrayal of Mau Mau than as mere exponents of senseless violence. This absorbing memoir recounts how Ngugi's boyhood was affected by mass expulsions, indiscriminate reprisals and internment camps, during what he has described elsewhere as Britain's "genocidal war". Yet, infused with a child's curiosity and wonder, this book is also deeply touching in its revelation of a whole community's stake in nurturing a writer. Born in , Ngugi grew up in the shadow of other wars.