Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir, published in 2012 by Pantheon books follows on from Dreams in A Time of War: A Child hood Memoir. It covers the years at Alliance High School from 1955 to 1959. These are the years of the Mau Mau liberation struggle. A young Ngugi returns to a desolate landscape. All has been torn down and people crammed into a concentration village next to a home guard post.
Dreams in A Time Of War (by Ngugi wa Thiong’o) starts in a hopeful place. Hopeful for a reason not too obvious at the start. After a day fighting hunger pangs at Kinyogori Intermediate School, Ngugi and Kenneth Mbugua, a classmate, take the longer six mile route home past the Limuru Bata Shoe factory. At a crossroads they are drawn into a crowd discussing the daring escape of a nameless man arrested close by. The crowd disputes the events and breaks up into groups. The nameless man turns out to be Wallace Mwangi also known as Good Wallace. Good Wallace is Ngugi’s brother and a Kenya Land and Freedom Army supplier. So begins a riveting memoir about growing up in colonial Kenya in a time of social, economic, world and anti-colonial war.
We are excited about our December book giveaway, which features the latest book from world-renowned Kenyan novelist, poet, playwright, and literary critic Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Enter this month’s competition for a chance to win a copy of Ngugi’s new book, In the House of Interpreter.
One of Africa’s best known and most respected authors, Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is outstanding both for the number of books he has written and the enduring quality of his writing. In this interview, he talks about how he got his first big break, and what inspires him to keep writing. He also tells us when his next book will be coming out.
Renowned author, Ngugi wa Thiong’o delivers a compelling story of greed, love, corruption, sorcery, selfishness, betrayal, power and the urge to dominate others.
First published in 2007 by Anchor, Wizard of the Crow is about a fictional country, Aburiria which is ruled by an autocratic leader known as ‘The Ruler’.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Matigari tells the story of a former Mau Mau fighter who returns to his land ready to lay down his weapons and ‘trade them for the belt of peace.’ Determined to rebuild his home, and start a new life, his life instead becomes a search for peace and justice. He finds that despite gaining independence, his people are still dispossessed and being exploited by their corrupt leaders.
Set against the backdrop of the post colonial era in Kenya, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Devil on the Cross depicts irony at its peak – with the devil on the cross instead of Jesus. Written entirely in Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Gikuyu language after he declared he would no longer write in English, the book is a critical examination of Kenyan society. Deeply allegorical, it was written while the author was detained in prison.
First published in 1965, The River Between is a candid portrayal of colonialism’s impact on East Africa. The book is set in rural Kenya, in the land of the Kikuyu community. The river referred to in the title, is the Honia river that separates the two ridges of Kameno and Makuyu. It flows through the valley of life, which brings the two ridges together.
The book, first published in 1964, is set in Kenya, and is a portrayal of life in the country during colonial times. It is divided into two parts: “the waning light” and “darkness falls”, and has eighteen chapters. Contrary to the title, this child has every right to weep, according to Prima Birungi who writes this review. Right from the start, good luck is not on the child’s side save for the few moments he is at school. It’s a very interesting book which has stood the test of time.
Kenya’s troubled past pervades this memoir, says Maya Jaggi