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1. The River Between
2. Wizard of the Crow
3. Matigari (African Writers Series)
4. Petals of Blood
5. Devil on the Cross (African Writers
6. Weep Not, Child
7. Decolonising the Mind: The Politics
8. Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood
9. Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Gender, and
10. Something Torn and New: An African
11. The World of Ngugi Wa Thiong'O
12. Ngugi Wa Thiong'o Speaks: Interviews
13. A Grain of Wheat (African Writers
14. Ngugi Wa Thiong'O: Texts and Contexts
15. Ngugi Wa Thiong'O: The Making
16. Ngugi wa Thiong'o: L'homme et
17. The Novel As Transformation Myth:
18. Ngugi Wa Thiong'O
19. Critical Essays on Ngugi Wa Thiong
20. Resistance And Consciousness In

1. The River Between
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Paperback: 152 Pages (1990-01-11)
list price: US$17.44 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0435905481
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Christian missionaries attempt to outlaw the female circumcision ritual and in the process create a terrible rift between the two Kikuyu communities on either side of the river. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars Uncovering Cultural Heritage of the Gikuyus
The River Between by Ngg wa Thiong'o is 152 pages and can be purchased at Amazon.com for as low as $9.21.I will begin this review with some background on the author: Thiong'o was born in Kenya in 1938 and is a campaigner for the Gikuyu language (which predated Kenya's borders), and is a theme consistent with The River Between (1965), his second novel, which is about the Gikuyu people.The River Between is certainly related to the Mau Mau Rebellion by the Gikuyus against the British Colonialists, which occurred just a few years before Thiong'o's writing of this book (Atieno-Odhiambo 302).His other works include various other novels and numerous, stories, plays, and essays.He is an activist and conceived his novel, Devil on the Cross (1980), while being held in detention for a year over the performance of his play, I Will Marry When I Want.He is currently a Professor of Comparative Literature and English at the University of California, Irvine (Thiong'o).The rest of my review is here: [...]

4-0 out of 5 stars Mediating Land and Circumcision
Critic Fredric Jameson is (almost always) right--all fiction seems to be pure allegory. The river, the 2 communities, the 2 lovers, the 2 continental cultures, etc. Can we escape binary combinations?

I'd say this novel starts with female genital mutilation and other circumcisions and makes an effort to end with independence movements. The result is mixed. Can we talk about culture without talking about politics, namely, African emancipation? The answer has to be no, but the plot tries to resolve this too late, as if it was avoiding the question altogether. Hence, the open ending. The reader is left in a sort of state of suspense, but we all know the results.

On the other hand, the novel is interesting from this contradictory perspective--it adopts a very modern Western moral framework to tell a story that cannot tell itself. The real story lurks in the background: it's the land and the labor taken by the "white people." Can we mediate circumcision and land? The answer is: we must.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic.
I read this book for a course in college. A great little novel that explores the rift between traditional and Christianic Africans, hence the title. The novel is a story about destiny and sacrifice. I'm not sure if it was done on purpose, but story is very similiar to the biblical teachings of Jesus.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Valley of the Shadow of Death: Can one reconcile the old and the new?
Ngugu wa Thiong'o's two ridges are rivals to the political and spiritual salvation of the Kikuyu. Waiyaki stands between the two worlds.Indeed, he sees that both the traditionalist's view and the tribe and the new Christian view each hold a modicum of merit. Waiyaki attempts to bridge these worlds to strengthen the tribe and connect with the good of the modern world.
The man caught between two worlds is a common theme throughout literature and may be seen as trite.Yet, as usual trite themes are only bad when done by bad writers. Ngugu, however,is a fantastic writer.He is to the Kikuyu what Achebe is to the Ibo.This book is thoroughly enthralling; not only do I give this book 5 stars I would put it in must read.

3-0 out of 5 stars The River Between
The River Between is about the division between two villages in Africa, divisions begun by the differences between the tribal ways and Christian ways brought by the missionaries.The death of Muthoni, the eldest daughter of Joshua, the most stringent follower of the missionary, after undergoing female circumcision causes the missionary to "outlaw" female circumcision and forbid the children of the "circumcised" to attend the school.An expelled student of the school in his final year sets up schools for those that believe the tribal traditions, but his youth awakens an old enemy of his father to oppose him and set him up for failure by utilizing the young man's love for Nyambura, Joshua's other daughter.Not to give anything away, I was not happy with the end of the book, hence the 3 rating; however, those who think they are enlightened and would like to outlaw female circumcision should read this book as if does raise an interesting question:"If the white man's religion made you abandon a custom and then did not give you something else of equal value, you became lost.An attempt at resolution of the conflict would only kill you, as it did Muthoni."What do the "liberals" who want to outlaw female circumcision in the name of "women's rights" suggest as a custom to replace this custom? ... Read more

2. Wizard of the Crow
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Paperback: 784 Pages (2007-08-28)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400033845
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In exile now for more than twenty years, Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet and critic Ngugi wa Thiong’o has become one of the most widely read African writers.

Commencing in “our times” and set in the fictional “Free Republic of Aburiria,” Wizard of the Crow dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburirian people. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, this magnificent novel reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel
This is now one of my favorite novels. Incredibly funny and engaging, incisive and satirical. Can't recommend it enough. I borrowed this book from the library, but have now purchased it so I can lend it to family and have it in my collection.

3-0 out of 5 stars Book - 5 Stars.Digital Copy - 0 Stars
I enjoyed this book when it was first published.A brilliant satire not only of African politics but of politics and power in general.Throw in consistently astute observations concerning religion, human nature and superstition and you had the making of an instant classic in 2006.I have not enjoyed a book in this vein so much since A Confederacy of Dunces.

That's the good.Now the bad.Worst formatting I have seen on the Kindle. There are three main spelling problems.The Country Aburiria is misspelled 90% of the time (Aburlria).One of the main characters - Kamiti - is misspelled 100% of the time (Kamltl).Before thinking that the problem only lies with a lower case 'i' being picked up as a lower case 'l', keep in mind that several times the country is properly spelled and other more complicated names are always spelled correctly.Ruler is spelled as Buler about 20% of the time, a lot considering the dictator in question does not have a proper name and is constantly referred to as The Ruler.Then there's the annoying habit of ending the occasional paragraph with a free-standing 'r' instead of a period.

I literally stopped counting errors at 100 and had yet to make it through 1/10 of the book.What a shame because the book in hardcover was a most enjoyable read.I simply wanted to point out the problems before you download.I guess the best recommendation I can give to Wizard of the Crow is that even with the overwhelming number of errors, it's still worthy of a buy.That's how much I loved this book.I hope the publisher takes the time to correct the Kindle errors.This modern masterpiece deserves better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Novel I've Read in Years
The greatest Kikuyu author has done it again.Ngugi's English translation of his own novel (originally written in his native Kikuyu) is an enjoyable read that you won't notice its considerable length compared to his other classics.Set in the imaginary Abruria ruled by the iron-fisted "the Ruler," the novel is really set in Kenya during the Moi regime.Magical realist and hyperbolic the novel comes complete with a post-modern Jesus figure in Kimiti who makes himself into the Wizard of the Crow by accident.

Ngugi is a magnificent storyteller and the plot complete with love story and action could stand alone.But he weaves into the novel a criticism of the African gatekeeper state.Yet he challenges not only the African state but also the Washington Consensus and neo-colonialism.He portrays the Ruler like Seneca's dog being pulled around by the chariot of the Global Bank and the new globalized colonialism.The Ruler cannot understand how what he has done in the Cold War era is not acceptable to the "New World Era."

The Wizard of the Crow is to the post Cold War era what Things Fall Apart was to the decolonization era.This is a must read for students of Africa, but more so to lovers of modern literature.

4-0 out of 5 stars rarely lags, many laughs: Thiong'o hits the mark
Ngugi has here written a weighty but engaging tale of ... well, it's a little hard to describe.There's an African dictator, three sycophantic government ministers (so sycophantic that one had his eyes surgically enlarged to be able to spot the Ruler's enemies, another his ears...), a traditional healer, an activist, an opportunistic businessman, a wife fed up with beatings, condescending representatives from the "Global Bank," and Much, Much More.

Having worked in and read about African countries for a number of years, many of the players seemed familiar: for example, the former revolutionaries co-opted into the ruling party reminded me of Richard Leakey, the Kenyan opposition politician who lost credibility by joining the ruling party.

In short, I really enjoyed this piece: part farcical satire, part magical realism (as the Ruler blows up like a balloon and begins to float - yes, really), part political activist's anthem, and occasionally just a drama.In the drama occasions, I usually wished for more farcical satire, but still, I highly recommend this book.

I've read three novels by Ngugi wa Thiong'o: The River Between, Petals of Blood, and this one.This is definitely the most fun (okay, it's the only remotely funny one).I'd recommend Petals of Blood for a much more serious and depressing account of post-colonial disillusionment with local leadership.Another novel that I found illustrative of post-colonial African politics was Chinua Achebe's A Man of the People.

Note on content: the book has a bit of strong language and lots of absurdity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ngugi does it again!
If you're looking for the next great African novel, you have found it right here! Written with hints of magical realism, with an almost fairy-tale brand of progression, this novel will have you enthralled from start to finish. An extremely dense and allusion-filled story, full of hidden social commentary. Ngugi does it again, friends! Enjoy! ... Read more

3. Matigari (African Writers Series)
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Paperback: 192 Pages (1989-06)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$66.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0435905465
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A moral fable in which Martigari, a freedom fighter, emerges from the forest in the political dawn of post-independence Kenya. Searching for his family and a new future, he finds little has changed. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic novel about corruption in postcolonial Africa
In the preface to this novel, Ngugi informs us that Matigari was written in 1983, while he was living in exile in London. It was published in the Gikuyu language in 1986, and translated into English the following year. He also tells us that copies of this book were removed from bookshops by the Kenyan police that year, due to the controversy that its release caused there.

Matigari ma Njiruungi, which means 'the patriots who survived the bullets' in the Gikuyu language, is an old man in an unnamed postcolonial African country who, after years of struggle, has finally killed his lifelong tormentor and oppressor Settler Williams and his assistant John Boy. He leaves the forest which had been his home for many years, to return to his home village. He intends to gather up his family and people that he left behind during the struggle for independence, in order to move into the spacious home that he built, which was stolen from him by Settler Williams.

Upon his arrival to the village, he finds a shocking amount of poverty and corruption: orphaned children live in abandoned cars, and obtain scraps of food and clothing from a dump; workers toil in factories and the fields, and do not make enough money to feed their families; a group of women prostitute themselves to survive. The country is now run by His Excellency Ole Excellence and his assistant The Minister of Truth and Justice, and a fragile peace is maintained by fear, violence and the ever present Voice of Truth radio broadcast, which informs the public of the punishment meted out to those who oppose the one party government.

Matigari finds the home that he has built, with the help of a young boy, who has rescued him from a mob of stone throwing youth, and a prostitute who he has rescued from two policemen. However, it is now occupied by the son of John Boy; he has obtained a Western education and, along with the son of Settler Williams, runs a major factory and plantation in the village. They are more corrupt and oppressive taskmasters than their hated fathers. Matigari attempts to claim his house, but he is beaten and jailed. However, he is not defeated, and soon escapes from prison. He travels throughout the village, a mysterious Christ-like figure who becomes a legend amongst the villagers, and a feared opponent of John Boy, Jr. and the government. All efforts to discredit or capture Matigari prove fruitless, as the villagers become less fearful of the government and more willing to stand up for their rights. A final and inevitable confrontation with John Boy, Jr. at the plantation home occurs, as the stability of the government hangs in the balance.

This was a tingling and fast-paced novel, which I read in one sitting this morning, and is based in part on an African folk story. The ending was especially good, and unpredictable despite the confrontation that was obviously going to take place. It was banned by the Kenyan government, as Matigari teaches its readers that only armed struggle would result in freedom from corrupt and oppressive African dictatorships. Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Matigari is a fascinating story. Must read~!
Matigari by Ngugi wa Thiong'o is a fascinating story. Since from the very beginning, Matigari captures readers with foreshadowing, uses of similes, and many techniques that European writers use. However, the structure is different from a novel written in the European tradition. The language iskept rather simple, as someone would speak when telling a story. There aremany repetitive words and phrases in Matigari and readers should notunderestimate the significant value of every one of them. In addition, therepetition is one of many things that Ngugi used to make readers read thebook like a hidden charisma of the book. In my opinion, one of many quotesthat give more insight to the story is the following: There is no night solong that it does not end with dawn." This metaphorical expression has avery significant meaning in the context of the story. It expresses theendless sufferings of people in that land. Most importantly, it emphasizestheir hope for a better tomorrow. Thins have not changed after the settlersleft. The Imperialism system sets a worldwide system in which the sorrow ofthe many is the joy of the few. The wealth of an entire nation is in thehands of five percent of the population, while the other ninety fivepercent are dying of starvation. "I have girded myself with the beltof peace." That is another important phrase. It illustrates the non-violentattitude of the hero. Matigari was a nationalist, a peaceful messenger whowished for harmony in his community. Another phrase that provides themost insight into the text is house and home. It is repeated countlesstimes throughout the story, sometimes as many as eight times on a singlepage. It is like a mantra-home. The home is the center of our life. It iswhere families are centered. We go home to our loved ones every night.Muriuki's mother was killed in a fire set by her proprietor when she couldnot afford to pay for and refused to leave her home. Guthera turned toprostitution after she and her sibling were orphaned and it was the onlymeans by which she could provide for them. John Boy is sent away to schoolby his family and instead of coming back to help them to improve theirlives he becomes just like the wealthy settlers and his main goal is makingmoney at the expense of the natives. Matigari's home appears to representunity, love, and power. Home has connotations that go even further thanthat of immediate family and a place to live. Home is their country andhome is the life they knew before colonization. Decolorizing Mindnovel, that Ngugi used a biblical element to grab readers such as myselfinto completing the novel Matigari. I could not put down the book,Matigari's attitude and outward demeanor could all be summed up in oneoutline: his grace, his compassion, his love, his patience, hispeacefulness, gentleness are all the qualities of Christ. I especiallyloved how he captured Matigari's voice, "Something in Matigari's voice madethem listen to him attentively," when Christ spoke the people all listenedo him diligently. When Matigari said " a prudent person keeps their mouthshut, in the Bible James 1:19, says everyone should be quick to listen,slow to speak and slow to anger...." In addition, when Matigari was in thejail cell, he shared food with other people in the jail. It is parallel toJesus when he shares his bread to twelve other people. In literally, thefood Matigari had and shared could be the last supper. Matigari is notonly the bitter experience of post independence African society, but it isa picture of timeless suffering and struggle for freedom and independence.In a dictatorship, questions of truth and justice are paramount becausethese two are the first to disappear in such an environment. Matigari'spatriotism for his country and his people haunted his soul. His search fortruth and justice eventually let him to the forest and mountains. The mythsof Matigari have wonder people. Who is this man People even compared himwith the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Who ever that man is or whateverpeople think about him or his mission, I think the Matigari as aninspiration to the search for truth and justice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book
Although the author proposes that the reader set the story in any place they imagine, the Kenyan government took "matigari" quite personally... and Ngugi is now an exiled writer.

originally publishedin gukuu (sp?) this lyrical story is a written version of African oralstory telling tradition.Matigari, victorious over his foe in themountains, returns to his homeland to find it over-run with capitalism. Hebefriends a man, woman and a child, and journeys throughout his homelandseeking truth and justice.Word of his deeds travel, and quickly becomeexaggerated, until matigari himself is deified.The text brings up themesof community versus individualism, socialism versus capitalism... itquestions the length of the arm of the United States in Africa... and showsthe dangers of Africa taking on destructive "white" governmentsystems.

The story is tragic and beautiful, and very true. Who isMatigari? Read the book and find out!

5-0 out of 5 stars A moving story that gives hope
Its a message of hope in tragic and sad setting.Its a clear indication that the people themselves must always be vigilant over thier rights, and must be ready to defend themselves at whatever costs.

However, lookingat the current happenigns in most african countries, its sad to see thattheir promissed Matigari- the hero of their story- changes and becames evenworse once he gains power.perhaps the greatest message is that it createshopes in the people who starts questioning their way of life rather thanblindly having to follow in the footsteps of their heroes. ... Read more

4. Petals of Blood
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Paperback: 432 Pages (2005-02-22)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143039172
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The puzzling murder of three African directors of a foreign-owned brewery sets the scene for this fervent, hard-hitting novel about disillusionment in independent Kenya. A deceptively simple tale, Petals of Blood is on the surface a suspenseful investigation of a spectacular triple murder in upcountry Kenya. Yet as the intertwined stories of the four suspects unfold, a devastating picture emerges of a modern third-world nation whose frustrated people feel their leaders have failed them time after time. First published in 1977, this novel was so explosive that its author was imprisoned without charges by the Kenyan government. His incarceration was so shocking that newspapers around the world called attention to the case, and protests were raised by human-rights groups, scholars, and writers, including James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Donald Barthelme, Harold Pinter, and Margaret Drabble. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars an insightful, painful journey through disappointment in post-independence Kenya
Primary schoolteacher Godfrey Munira requests a posting at a far-away, rural location, hoping to escape his feelings of failure, his disappointment with himself. He is sent to the village of Ilmorog, where he crosses paths with Wanja, a beautiful bargirl come to live with her grandmother; Abdullah, a former freedom fighter who now runs a small shop and bar; and later Karega, a former student expelled from a prestigious secondary school for participating in a strike, then reduced to selling petty wares to tourists. These four friends (and sometimes lovers and sometimes rivals) participate with the native residents of Ilmorog through ups and downs, through drought and urbanization.

The principal theme of the book is disillusionment with independence, which replaced a few elite whites tightly holding power and money in Kenya with ... a few elite blacks holding power and money in Kenya. And as Ilmorog develops, just as in Kenya's post-independence transition, those who fought longest for change aren't those who see the benefits. The theme is not a happy one, and the novel holds out no clear solution (one character finds religion, another finds alcoholism, a third finds labor unions - and incredible hostility towards them by those in power) but it reflects true frustration on the part of many unable to climb out of abject poverty.

Thiongo's writing style is not swift-moving or action-packed, but the early pace reflects the pace of life in Ilmorog, and the action picks up as does life in the small town. Pushing through the slower parts is worthwhile: this book feels true to the frustration of many of Kenya's (and Africa's) poorest, disillusioned and searching for hope. Sometimes Thiong'o preaches too obviously through his characters, but the complaints are not his alone.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Most Impressive Book
A most impressive book.Chinua Achebe said that through fiction you may not be able to tell fact but through fiction you can tell truth.This novel transcends post colonial Africa; it's a commentary on the universal human condition.The forces of greed corruption exploitation transcend borders.The bosses will be served.Well done Ngugi Wa Thiong'o.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This novel is amazing. It just gets better each time I read it. It is a skillful blend of humor, irony, emotion, drama, politics and theory. "The railroad ate the trees, which called upon the rains." This is a critique of the colonial effect on the environment, which at the same time offers a cause and solution for the drought and crop failures contributing to poverty and disease in our beloved Africa. All in one simple line! This book is a rich treasure chest, each page holds jewels!

5-0 out of 5 stars powerful
Ngugi takes you through an emotional journey of pre and post colonial journey. This book moved me and educated me on some Kikuyu cultures - He references Theng'eta a potent alcoholic drink that I still have yet to find any Kikuyu who has heard of it. non the less the book is very much worth the time and more so the money - enjoy

5-0 out of 5 stars A tale of Post-Colonialism
Set in Kenya but could be a prototype for a native culture anywhere colonized, breaking free, then globalized which is an extension of colonialism. It is easy to understand why the author was imprisoned after the book's publication in 1977 as he presents a bleak view of what the Kenyans got in the way of leaders after independence from the white rulers. The viewpoint here seems to be anyone "for the people" is assassinated, those that stay in power are stinking rich doing business with the former white rulers and selling out their own people.

The story opens with a brief introduction of the four main characters - Munira, Abdulla, Wanja and Karega - a triple murder has just taken place, 3 leading millionaire government officials of the city of Ilmorog were burned to death in their beds. We are then taken back twelve years in time to when Munira arrived in the sleepy, dusty village of Ilmorog to teach school, The four friends meet and we hear their individual stories, how they change over the years but more so how the place called Ilmorog changes, from a dusty village to a modern urban centre, and the effect on people who lived there for generations.

I found the book very dense reading at first, there so many African names introduced, also the style of writing with many flashback is challenging, but before page 100 I was sailing along and could hardly put the book down. There are many layers to this novel, it is a book about Africa, about the world history of black people in general, globalization, colonialism, and a murder mystery as well, the arsonist responsible for the triple murder is revealed to us by the end. ... Read more

5. Devil on the Cross (African Writers Series)
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Paperback: 256 Pages (1987-10-23)
list price: US$18.69 -- used & new: US$13.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0435908448
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This remarkable and symbolic novel centers on Wariinga's tragedy and uses it to tell a story of contemporary Kenya. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!
Amazing book by an amazing author!The seller sent my item quickly after i purchased it at a reasonable price.Great deal!

5-0 out of 5 stars I am fresh off reading this entire book
I found it amazing. I wonder what I am missing in the translation though. I know the devices of prose are not preserved when honest translations are made. I wonder what the names of all the characters mean, I know they HAVE to mean something as he has taken great pains in making most everything else count. I wish I knew what the songs in Congolese meant because I know they are devices of the plot, just like every other ditty that got translated.

As for it being a great piece of literature... I believe it is so. I loved the parallels with the life of Jesus and the allegory throughout. I love pieces that are layered. I can respect any author that puts that much work into his fiction. I was excited to see a female main character who rediscovered her true worth. It redefined what I subconsciously assumed about African culture and the treatment of women.

For its cultural value, integration of African storytelling, and all the other elements combined... I have to give this book 5 stars. I wish I had read it long, long ago.

5-0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking
One commentor noted that Ngugi's book is good but fails in establishing a reason to care to his audience.

The reason for this is because though Ngugi does establish empathy from his audience he does so briefly because he assumes it is understood.Ngugi, in other words, was not writing this book for the European descent population who would need an elaborate explanation as to why to care about the characters. For the commentor, who is likely of European descent, they did not feel the automatic empathy for the characters any person of African descent feels as they read through the first chapter.

It's hard for me to think of any book that so elaborately investigates the contemporary Pan-African dilemma due to European exploitation.Other great novels, such as "Home to Harlem", do not directly attack or identify the issues.This book, though fictional literature is more of a nod to thephilosophical inquiries of "The Wretched of the Earth."Utterly brilliant.

4-0 out of 5 stars Colonialism on the Cross
One evening in Nairobi in the mid 80's I spent an uncomfortable dinner party defending this book to a bunch of outraged white folks. Well, Ngugi had it a bit worse. For the crime of producing a play in Kikuyu and for having ordinary folk be in it, and, of course, for the play expressing some irritation at the idea that a few should have all the money, he was jailed and his play confiscated.

As a result of his imprisonment, perhaps, this is not a happy book. Using allegory and parable he constructs a fabulous tale critiquing the existing order. He lays into the wealthy, the white colonialists and anyone else getting well off or acquiescing in the current regime of theft and greed.

Some of the outrage people have at this book came from Nugui's imaginative retelling of Jesus' parables. "For the Kingdom of Earthly Wiles can be likened unto a ruler who foresaw that the day would come when we would be thrown out of a certain country by the masses and their guerrilla freedom fighters" begins a parable loosely based on The Parable of the Talents.

It looks like he's attacking Jesus -- if you think Jesus was just telling pious little "be good" stories. On the other hand, if you really listen to Jesus, you'll think Ngugi is right on target.

This is an African version of Liberation Theology.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Epic of Modern Kenya
I really loved this book.I've read a few of Ngugi's books and this is my favorite: lyrical, sad, and yet optimistic and celebratory at the same time.It has a number of strengths.Its poetic verses and style were reminiscent of Kikuyu oral literature; despitethis version being in English there was a great translator.I can't read Kikuyu but Ngugi writes in it and says it can convey some of the richness of the stories better than English can.I can't imagine it being better than it was though!It was a great story of true Kenyan heroes, a love story, a scathing condemnation of corruption, materialism, poverty, neo-colonialism and self-hatred in Kenya and all over the world, and a truly feminist story as well.

I loved how Ngugi praised women who sought untraditional careers like engineering,and the women who had been the national heros in expelling the British. African women's roles in ousting the colonial powers and the need for them to help develop young nations is often neglected but Ngugi gives special attention to African women and embraces their contributions, equality, and their natural beauty, while expressing deep sadness over how they mutilate themselves by bleaching their skin, among other things. I met Ngugi and he was such a warm and wonderful man.This is a beautiful story.

... Read more

6. Weep Not, Child
by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
Paperback: 140 Pages (2009-07-30)
-- used & new: US$14.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143026240
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This is a powerful, moving story that details the effects of the infamous Mau Mau war, the African nationalist revolt against colonial oppression in Kenya, on the lives of ordinary men and women, and on one family in particular. Two brothers, Njoroge and Kamau, stand on a rubbish heap and look into their futures. Njoroge is excited; his family has decided that he will attend school, while Kamau will train to be a carpenter. Together they will serve their country - the teacher and the craftsman. But this is Kenya and the times are against them. In the forests, the Mau Mau is waging war against the white government, and the two brothers and their family need to decide where their loyalties lie. For the practical Kamau the choice is simple, but for Njoroge the scholar, the dream of progress through learning is a hard one to give up. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Weep not, reader
Should be read in conjunction with one or more of Ngugi's critical/theoretical texts or essays. Not as rich, in some ways, as River Between, but a very compelling journey into the problems of resistance at the dawn of a comprador age.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not his best work
Njoroge is a Gikuyu boy who is enters into a western school.He feels that education is the only path for him to help his family, his village and his country.Yet, his dreams get destroyed.The Mau Mau uprising sends his proletariat brothers into the forest killing settlers and trying to get England to leave Kenya.

Ngugi's characterization of the uprising and the people involved is quite interesting.Some characters are connected with the Mau Mau not because of high-minded ideals but because of personal grievances with others.The white characters are considered outsiders by the Gikuyu but consider themselves Africans.

Njoroge becomes the synthesis character.Through his education he connects with the colonizers; he has a romantic connection with the collaborating chief's daughter; and, at home he is connected to Gikuyu past.He predicts that "tomorrow" there will be a new Kenya and he and the chief's daughter will be the foundation of it.

Weep Not, Child is Ngugi's first novel and it reads like one.His next novel "The River Between," with a similar message, is a far better work.I would not make this a "must read."

4-0 out of 5 stars Weep not, child
The story concerns itself with an important period in the life of the author's tribe in Kenya in the 1950's - the Mau Mau Emergency at a time when I myself lived in Kenya. It does not pretend to be other than a subjective fictional account and yet is more accurate than the recent supposed historical account by Caroline Elkins, outrageously inaccurate as that is. Ngugi's book goes to the heart ofa young boy whose burning desire is to get an education at a time when conflict and killing were all around him. It is beautifully and simply told with a very authentic 'young' voice.

4-0 out of 5 stars Quick, easy read
This was a quick read portraying the struggles of a young boy coming of age in Kenya with the onset of the Mau Mau uprising and the opression that led to it. The novel's simplicity may make it seem like an elementary book, but this is what makes it genuine and a good beginning for anyone who is just starting to learn about the atrocities that happened throughout white man's rule of Africa and what is still going on today. It's not hard to see why Ngugi was so wrongfully punished for his bringing these events to the forefront as he definitely was making some point-blank political statements (and very brave).

4-0 out of 5 stars The Plight of the African people
"Weep Not, Child" chronicles a young boy, Njoroge, as he grows up admist the Mau Mau war and the conflict between the African natives and the British colonial rulers. The book is in essence about the hopes and dreams of a young boy coming being affected by the outside world and howthe outside world changes a person.

The novel also addresses thepolitical conflict that was occurring in Kenya in the 1950's. The authorincorporates a description of the power of the white rulers, the bitternessof the Africans at being enslaved on their own land and their attempt torise up against the tyranny, and finally deals with the poor relationsbetween the blacks and Indian merchants, who are looked down upon by theblack community.

I read this novel as a part of my IB English class. Weread this book in combination with "1984" (Orwell). It was a verypowerful story when it dealt with Njoroge's life, his thoughts and hisfeelings but due to the length of the novel (136 pages) one only gets afairly superficial explanation of the historical and cultural context ofthe book. Also, this novel is a book in translation, so some of thesentence and grammatical structure can be a bit tricky at times. All inall, a very good book. ... Read more

7. Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Paperback: 114 Pages (2009-10-15)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$41.05
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Asin: 0852555016
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Ngugi describes this book as 'a summary of some of the issues in which I have been passionately involved for the last twenty years of my practice in fiction, theatre, criticism and in teaching of literature. North America: Heinemann; Kenya: EAEP ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars insightuful, thought-provoking, life changing

8. Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir
by Ngugi Wa Thiong'O
Kindle Edition: 272 Pages (2010-03-02)
list price: US$24.95
Asin: B0036S4EMI
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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By the world-renowned novelist, playwright, critic, and author of Wizard of the Crow, an evocative and affecting memoir of childhood.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o was born in 1938 in rural Kenya to a father whose four wives bore him more than a score of children. The man who would become one of Africa’s leading writers was the fifth child of the third wife. Even as World War II affected the lives of Africans under British colonial rule in particularly unexpected ways, Ngugi spent his childhood as very much the apple of his mother’s eye before attending school to slake what was then considered a bizarre thirst for learning.
In Dreams in a Time of War, Ngugi deftly etches a bygone era, capturing the landscape, the people, and their culture; the social and political vicissitudes of life under colonialism and war; and the troubled relationship between an emerging Christianized middle class and the rural poor. And he shows how the Mau Mau armed struggle for Kenya’s independence against the British informed not only his own life but also the lives of those closest to him.
Dreams in a Time of War speaks to the human right to dream even in the worst of times. It abounds in delicate and powerful subtleties and complexities that are movingly told.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Growing up in Kenya as British colonialism begins its death spiral
Ngugi wa Thiong'o is reputedly one of the greatest living African writers of fiction.("Reputedly", because I have not read any of Ngugi's fiction nor much of other noted African authors, such as Peter Abrahams and Chinua Achebe.)Ngugi was born in 1938 in Kenya, and grew up in Limuru, a town about one hour from Nairobi.By virtue of being born when he was, Ngugi, as a youth and young adult, lived amidst the turmoil of social and political life in Kenya as it went from oppressive colonialism, through revolution, and on into oppressive post-colonial dictatorship.Ngugi left Kenya in 1977, since when he has lived in the United States, teaching at Yale, NYU, and University of California, Irvine.

DREAMS IN A TIME OF WAR is Ngugi's memoir of his childhood, until, at the age of 16, he left home to begin secondary education at a highly selective high school.His father had four wives and 24 children.During Ngugi's youth, his father and mother became estranged, and she left the homestead to live with her father, taking Ngugi and a younger brother with her.His mother clearly was an unusual woman of considerable fortitude and character.She helped fan within Ngugi a burning desire for education and then sacrificed herself in various ways to enable him to pursue that education.But their dreams of education had to be pursued during parlous times of unrest and violence, and hence the title of Ngugi's memoir.

For me, the chief value of the book is the picture it gives of native Kenyan life in a rapidly changing world - of such matters as family customs within an extended, polygamous family, traditional rites like circumcision, and communal story-telling.It also contains much anecdotal evidence of the cruelty and thickheadedness of the waning years of British rule and the divisive consequences among the Kenyans themselves.(Ngugi's older brother Wallace joined the Mau Mau guerillas; half-brothers of his served the British colonial interests as members of the Home Guard.)

The British tried to tighten the screws on the Kenyans in many ways in the years immediately after World War II.One of their efforts to check the ever-spreading, gradually intensifying impulse for independence was to attempt taking iron-fisted control of African education, including outlawing independent African-run schools and mandating a revisionist curriculum in history.As part of that curriculum, "We learned that white people had discovered Mount Kenya and many of our lakes, including Lake Victoria.In the old school, Kenya was a black man's country.In the new school, Kenya, like South Africa, was represented as having been sparsely populated before the whites arrived [which, of course, was false], and so whites occupied the uninhabited areas [also false].Where, as in * * * Limuru, they had taken African lands, the previous occupants had been compensated [once again false]."Just another example of rear-guard revisionist history, an endeavor that politically or religiously inspired groups continue to undertake from time to time, quiterecently in the enlightened state of Texas.Plus ça change.

Ngugi's memoir is both informative and touching.Despite the highly charged conditions of Ngugi's life, the book never takes on the character of a political or revolutionary tract.Ngugi appears to have been graced with unusual intelligence, atypical earnestness, and inherent goodness. DREAMS IN A TIME OF WAR is straightforward, relatively informal, and decently written.I do not regard it to be a classic among memoirs, but it was well worth my time.It ends rather abruptly with Ngugi's arrival at secondary school, suggesting to me that Ngugi intends to continue his life story in one or more future books.If so, I am a prospective reader. ... Read more

9. Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Gender, and the Ethics of Postcolonial Reading
by Brendon Nicholls
Hardcover: 232 Pages (2010-03-01)
list price: US$99.95 -- used & new: US$66.97
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Asin: 0754658252
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This is the first comprehensive book-length study of gender politics in Ngugi wa Thiong'o's fiction. Brendon Nicholls argues that mechanisms of gender subordination are strategically crucial to Ngugi's ideological project from his first novel to his most recent one. Nicholls describes the historical pressures that lead Ngugi to represent women as he does, and shows that the novels themselves are symptomatic of the cultural conditions that they address. Reading Ngugi's fiction in terms of its Gikuyu allusions and references, a gendered narrative of history emerges that creates transgressive spaces for women. Nicholls bases his discussion on moments during the Mau Mau rebellion when women's contributions to the anticolonial struggle could not be reduced to a patriarchal narrative of Kenyan history, and this interpretive maneuver permits a reading of Ngugi's fiction that accommodates female political and sexual agency. Nicholls contributes to postcolonial theory by proposing a methodology for reading cultural difference. This methodology critiques cultural practices like clitoridectomy in an ethical manner that seeks to avoid both cultural imperialism and cultural relativisim.His strategy of 'performative reading', that is, making the conditions of one text (such as folklore, history, or translation) active in another (for example, fiction, literary narrative, or nationalism), makes possible an ethical reading of gender and of the conditions of reading in translation. ... Read more

10. Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Paperback: 176 Pages (2009-02-24)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$13.55
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Asin: 0465009468
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Novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o has been a force in African literature for decades: Since the 1970s, when he gave up the English language to commit himself to writing in African languages, his foremost concern has been the critical importance of language to culture. In Something Torn and New, Ngugi explores Africa’s historical, economic, and cultural fragmentation by slavery, colonialism, and globalization. Throughout this tragic history, a constant and irrepressible force was Europhonism: the replacement of native names, languages, and identities with European ones. The result was the dismemberment of African memory.

Seeking to remember language in order to revitalize it, Ngugi’s quest is for wholeness. Wide-ranging, erudite, and hopeful, Something Torn and New is a cri de coeur to save Africa’s cultural future.

... Read more

11. The World of Ngugi Wa Thiong'O
 Paperback: 248 Pages (1995-03)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$12.92
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Asin: 086543459X
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12. Ngugi Wa Thiong'o Speaks: Interviews With The Kenyan Writer
by Reinhard Sander
Paperback: 445 Pages (2005-10-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$26.95
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Asin: 1592212662
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Ngugi wa Thiong'o is one of Africa's most famous writers. His novels, plays, essays and speeches have earned him an international reputation as an articulate spokesman not just for Africa but for the entire Third World as well. His writings, rooted in historical and material realities, have always been politically engaged, arguing a case for the poor and oppressed who, as victims of economic exploitation and cultural domination by the West and by some of their own national leaders, have sought to liberate themselves by resisting the forces that hold them down. He has become a champion of the dispossessed, an inspiring advocate for freedom, justice and human rights for all the downtrodden peoples of the world.Ngugi wa Thiong'o's evolution as a thinker can be discerned in the conversations collected here. The earliest, recorded forty years ago, reflect his interest in exploring events in Kenya's colonial past that had a profound impact on his own people, the Kikuyu, and ultimately on his own life. More recent discussions focus on present conditions in Kenya and other parts of the Third World.Cumulatively the interviews reproduced here trace the trajectory of the author's intellectual engagement with his times, showing what he had in mind and how he chose to deal with the challenges confronting him. By eavesdropping on what he says, we can learn a lot not only about what Ngugi was thinking and doing at various stages of his career but also about what was happening in Africa before, during and after independence. Ngugi's words lead us to a deeper understanding of colonial and postcolonial history. ... Read more

13. A Grain of Wheat (African Writers Series)
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Paperback: 224 Pages (1994-01-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
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Asin: 0435909878
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In this ambitious and densely worked novel, we begin to see early signs of Ngugi's increasing bitterness about the ways in which the politicians are the true benefactors of the rewards of independence. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Arguably the best novel written in English
Returning to a masterpiece to re-examine its brilliance is always a risky business. There is always the threat of disappointment, a gradual realisation that an earlier decade's evaluation might now reveal merely one's own naiveté, the contemporary - and no doubt illusory sophistication of falsely-assumed wisdom. Perhaps it might all be just appear a little mundane from new detachment.

So it was with some trepidation that I again began A Grain Of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. I first read it in the 1970s when I lived in Kenya. In those days, the author still answered to `James' and the novel was on the Literature in English syllabus for the East African Certificate of Education. Our students came from a poor area, weren't the most academic and studied in their third language. I wonder daily at their commitment, hard work and achievement. A Grain Of Wheat is not an easy book. Over-simplification of a complex world was not amongst its author's intentions.

I read it again a couple of times a decade later. Then I found layers that as a relative youngster I had missed. This was no longer just a work of historical fiction offering illustration and interpretation of Kenya's struggle for independence. It was now also a committed political novel, never a polemic, however, since it was via the actions of its characters that the images and relationships were defined. And this time, nearly twenty more years on, I find the book's stature has grown again. Not only has it passed the test of time, its themes have, if anything, become even more pertinent. And this time, confirming the book's now unquestioned status as a masterpiece I find yet another strand of meaning laced into its construction. It is not merely a masterpiece. Indeed, it ought to required reading for British students, just in case there might be anyone left with any doubts about the reality of colonialism.

A Grain Of Wheat is a novel. It is set in Kikuyuni, ridges rising north from the Nairobi area towards Mount Kenya, Kirinyaga, Girinyaga. The setting is real. Its story is placed firmly within a particular place and time. We are in the last years of Kenya's struggle for independence, the goal of Uhuru. But Ngugi describes and illustrates this history via the lives and experiences of characters who inhabit a small town, Thabai. History tells us blankly the sum of their efforts, the eventual victory against the British, the lowering of the Union Jack in December 1963 and its replacement by Kenya's black red and green. But via fiction, Ngugi gives us far more than this. We feel history develop via the experience, the detail, the suffering, the commitment, the inadequacies and the treachery of people who lived through the time.

Thabai has a small town's usual share of freedom fighters, collaborators, colonial officers, whites of both sexes, beautiful girls, ambitious men. There are Christians, traditionalists, traitors, old codgers and plenty of others who claim to be human. Acts perpetrated by the colonial administrators and their lackeys are sometimes nothing less than raw sadism. They seem to be motivated by a keen, though unjustifiable sense of superiority, an apparent mission to Anglicise an unwilling world. Ngugi could have concentrated on these acts, vilified their perpetrators and thus created simple bad-boys to serve his plot. But A Grain Of Wheat is much more subtle than that. In many ways, these people are victims as well. Their only advantage is that, for a while, they have power on their side. And it is the struggle of motivated people that must wrest this advantage from them.

A Grain Of Wheat presents characters who suffer for what they do, struggle to achieve what they want to become. They want to remain faithful to their convictions, but in a time of strife motives are often provided by the most pressing influence, and often that does not have right on its side.

What comes across this time from reading A Grain Of Wheat is the book's intense Christian allegory. Joseph and Mary here are Gikonyo and Mumbi, perhaps an original coupling of legend. He is even a carpenter and Mumbi's child actually belongs to someone else, Karanja. He is a man tainted with the sins of a previous age and surely he has passed these on to his child, who is born with their originality. And as far as Gikonyo is concerned, Mumbi's child is a virgin birth.

The child, of course, is the new Kenya, born with all the injustices and sins of the past, but charged with its own independence, its potential to develop into its unknown future. The fact that it will be offered in sacrifice on the cross of capitalism is a reality lived in Ngugi's later work.

A Grain Of Wheat not only bears re-reading. It is a powerful enough vision to sustain re-interpretation, though of course only at the level of detail. The book's message was always clear, though always subtly drawn. It is a great, great achievement.

5-0 out of 5 stars Freedom and Land
This book has all the human ingredients for a tense evocation of a dramatic event in the world of nations: the independence of a former European colony in Africa. It has its whitemen, its freedom fighters, its traitors, its collaborators and its `new bosses' using their prime power to get hold of the juicy opportunities (properties) left vacant by the former ruling minority.

What will independence (the harvest of grains of wheat) mean really for the common people `used to broken appointments and broken promises'? What to do with the former freedom fighters? Will there be more jobs? Will there be more land available? What to do with the traitors and the former collaborators?

For the author, of those who judge the traitors `few people in that meeting are fit to lift a stone.'
The future is not as brilliant as it seems: `But now, whom do we see riding in long cars? It is those who did not take part in the Movement, the same who ran to shelter of schools and universities and administration. They knew suffering as a word.'
Will the former colonists be replaced by `black 'whitemen?

This book with its positive hero doesn't have a socialist message: `every man in the world is alone, and fights alone, to live.' `To live and die alone was the ultimate truth.'
One small remark: I found the picture of the `negative hero' somewhat less convincing, because of what he did `for money'.

Highly recommended for all lovers of world literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Happy with my purchase
I am happy with my purchase.It was in brand new condition and it was shipped quickly and shipping was free.

1-0 out of 5 stars i burned this when i was done
i had to read this book for a class at college and coiuld hardly make my way through it. the plot is difficult to follow, every page is a tedious, monotonous chore to work through. i could not relate to the characters at all, as they were either complete cowards or operated on motives entirely beyond my means to grasp. I have never read a worse book in my life. i burned it page by page in the fire after the class was over for the sheer pleasure of watching this wretched, miserable waste of time die slowly.

4-0 out of 5 stars A political tale with an emotional threshold
There is no one storyline to follow throughout, and there is no one protagonist to embrace. Instead, Ngugi tells us of a world on the brink of independance, of the people that lived through the transition, and of the effects that occur to the land and its people in the process.

While understanding that Ngugi was someone quite politically charged, the book plays as an allegory to his specific beliefs, but reading this story cannot help but take you on an emotional road as well. He spins a tale in an enchanting and effective way. His characters represent the many layers of people on the transitioning land: those of tradition, wisdom, corruption, and courage.

A great book to read for the interpretations, and for the story itself. ... Read more

14. Ngugi Wa Thiong'O: Texts and Contexts
 Hardcover: 372 Pages (1995-12)
list price: US$69.95 -- used & new: US$65.91
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Asin: 0865434441
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent (re)interpretation of Ngugi's political ideology
This book offers readers a different view of how Ngugi could be read. Itdiffers from more common sources of criticism in that the contributors areselected out of the hundred over papers delivered in Penn State Universityin honour of Ngugi. All of them are Kenyan, and it is remarkable that itshould be held in the US instead of their homeland, where Ngugi's viewsshould matter most. This collection covers a broad breadth and is mosthelpful in addressing certain issues of related interest. Perhaps oneshould delve into it with an open mind, and allow a fresh reading of Ngugiand his views to broaden your politico-cultural framework. ... Read more

15. Ngugi Wa Thiong'O: The Making of a Rebel : A Source Book in Kenyan Literature and Resistance (Documentary Research in African Written Literature 1)
by Carol Sicherman
 Hardcover: 504 Pages (1990-10)
list price: US$90.00
Isbn: 0905450663
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16. Ngugi wa Thiong'o: L'homme et l'euvre (Collection Approches) (French Edition)
by Jacqueline Bardolph
Paperback: 184 Pages (1991)
-- used & new: US$50.98
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Asin: 270870558X
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17. The Novel As Transformation Myth: A Study of the Novels of Mongo Beti and Ngugi Wa Thiong'O (Foreign and Comparative Studies Program African Series)
by Kandioura Drame
 Paperback: 123 Pages (1990-04)
list price: US$14.00
Isbn: 0915984687
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18. Ngugi Wa Thiong'O
by Clifford B. Robson
 Hardcover: Pages (1980-08)
list price: US$18.95
Isbn: 031257245X
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19. Critical Essays on Ngugi Wa Thiong O: Ngugi wa Thiong'o ( b. 1938) (Critical Essays on American Literature)
by Peter Nazareth
 Hardcover: 368 Pages (2000-11-27)
list price: US$66.00 -- used & new: US$66.00
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Asin: 0783804563
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20. Resistance And Consciousness In Kenya And South Africa: Subalternity And Representation In The Novels Of Ngugi Wa Thiong'o And Alex La Guma
by Anders Breidlid
 Paperback: 391 Pages (2002-10)
list price: US$62.95 -- used & new: US$150.00
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Asin: 3631501838
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