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  • Paperback
  • 247
  • A Grain of Wheat
  • Ngũgĩ wa Thiongo
  • English
  • 16 July 2018
  • 9780435909871

Ngũgĩ wa Thiongo æ 0 CHARACTERS

CHARACTERS ✓ A Grain of Wheat 60 Emergency At the center of it all is the reticent Mugo the village's chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret As we learn of the villagers' tangled histories in a narrative inte. Uhuru is a Swahili word that means freedom It is a rallying cry for freedom fighters and the name given to the day when Kenya became an independent country in 1963 Ng g wa Thiong o takes a magnifying glass to the feelings motives and consciences of people caught up in the events leading up to Uhuru Viewed from a distance of years and oceans the lead up to independence and ultimate triumph over the colonialists is uneuivocally a time of celebration for Kenyans Thiong o dashes this picturesue vision with images of grief stricken mothers of relationships thwarted by war and women selling their bodies for the price of a loaf of bread of the weight of betrayal wrung by the instinct of self preservation and the gulf that can open between two people caught in the cyclone of events whirling during the Emergency yearsEven heroes have their secrets and the resolve of the strong can be weakened in manifold ways In the honest words of one freedom fighter Many of us talked like that because we wanted to deceive ourselves It lessens your shame We talked of loyalty to the movement and the love of our country You know a time came when I did not care about Uhuru for the country any I just wanted to come home And I would have sold Kenya to the whiteman to buy my own freedomThe inner lives of the villagers of the fictional town of Thabai are strung through with political tension Thiong o constructs his story slowly weaving back and forth through different storylines visiting different time periods and peopling different huts The momentum builds as the day of Uhuru dawns and the murky events of the preceding years are gradually drawn into sharper focus with all the suspense of a thriller that is magnificently captured by a long distance race on the morning of Independence There is a cloud that hangs over the novel one that has yet to dissipate in the intervening decades The men who turned their backs on the movement to lick the heels of the whiteman were not brought to justice but were the first to benefit from a Kenya owned by the black man If I speak in black and white terms it is to match Thiong o s own unflinchingly caustic portrayal of all the white colonialists that pass through his pages I have not done the research myself but the ongoing political corruption that plagues Kenya stands to back his claims and casts another shadow on the celebrations that should accompany the freedom of any nation A Grain of Wheat was of biting relevance at the time of its publication in 1967 and the uestions it provokes resonate up to the present time What is Uhuru and did Thiong o s characters truly attain it Is Kenya a free and independent nation

CHARACTERS A Grain of WheatA Grain of Wheat

CHARACTERS ✓ A Grain of Wheat Set in the wake of the Mau Mau rebellion and on the cusp of Kenya's independence from Britain A Grain of Wheat follows a group of villagers whose lives have been transformed by the 1952–19. This is not an easy book It s awful and unsettling in so many waysI think that for me the book is not about UhuruKenyan independence or even the fight for it For me the book is mostly about the horrific effects of colonialism on the people not just the Africans but mostly the Africans but also the effects in glimpses of the African culture on the African people Or rather was that the traditional African culture or how it became under the brutalization that was normalized under colonization Colonial sounds almost pretty to an American in the 21st century What colonialism was was not pretty Not by a long shot It was brutal in humanizing horrific awful just a system of hollowing out whatever wealth was to be had by whatever means from whatever piece of ground was colonized I wish I had known to pay attention to the characters in the beginning and to realize that they d reappear in very different incarnations later in the novel What The Emergency a dozen years of basically martial law also known as the Mau Mau Uprising or the Mau Mau Rebellion or the Mau Mau Revolt preceding UhuruIndependence did to the various characters in the novel the ways in which it changed those that survived is raw Those who died those who were sent to concentrationdetention camps those who ran from the villages to the forest to fight to become freedom fighters terrorists a defending army all of those things those who became turncoats brutalizing in turn former peers those who were the authority everyone everyone is affectedStill hard to rate As I began the novel it didn t seem special A one star a two Past the halfway mark it was a five star at the end I don t knowIt s not a fluffy or gentle read that s for sure

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CHARACTERS ✓ A Grain of Wheat Rwoven 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 test. 12 A Grain of Wheat by Ng g wa Thiong opublished 1967 revised 1986format 247 page paperbackacuired 2010 from a now closed little bookstore in Brenham TXread Feb 7 18time reading 9 hr 20 min 23 minpagerating 4My Litsy review Not sure how to review this although for some reason I like the sound of the description a book on post colonial Kenya For all there is about Kenya s Mau Mau Rebellion it s the way he is able to capture the emotional state of the characters that really struck me especially jealousy and disappointment Even though there is a lot to say about this than that above I find it hard to capture what I want This is a story through a village of the Mau Mau Rebellion the cruel British prison camps where suspected rebels were sometimes tortured to death reprisals against this village and the various humiliating ways people found to get through it And then it s viewed in hindsight as the day of independence from the UK approaches But when I closed the book my main impression wasn t this history it was tied specifically to the handful of main characters and their own states They were what I was left thinking about