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A Grain of Wheat (1967)

af Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

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A GRAIN OF WHEAT portrays several characters in a village whose intertwined lives are transformed by the 1952-1960 Emergency in Kenya. As the action follows the village's arrangements for Uhuru (independence) Day, this is a novel of stories within stories, a narrative interwoven with myth as well as allusions to real-life leaders of the nationalist struggle, including Jomo Kenyatta. At the centre of it all is the reticent Mugo, the village's chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret. As events unfold, compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed and loves are tested.… (mere)
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» Se også 128 omtaler

Engelsk (18)  Italiensk (1)  Svensk (1)  Alle sprog (20)
Viser 1-5 af 20 (næste | vis alle)
I am happy to say that I have finally found the first book by Ngugi that I liked and that impressed me as a literary work. It is either the third or fourth book of his that I have read and I have always found his novels problematic, not only because the narratives seem strained or simplistic and his characters under- (or even un-) developed. He has always had an important message to convey but this is really the first novel of his that I have read that succeeds as a novel instead of a vehicle for his thoughts. The story concerns a group of villagers caught up in the Mau Mau rebellion and the British Emergency of 1952-60 in Kenya. Though he criticizes the British, Ngugi’s focus is Mugo, alone and alienated after returning to the village following his imprisonment and maltreatment by the British for his role in the uprising. Considered by nearly everyone to be a role model, he has a secret which is at the heart of the book. As Ngugi relates his story, other narratives about other villagers—none of whom is blameless—are unfolding. The story centers around a proverb: “That which bites you is in your own clothing.” No one is a hero, no one can escape his (or her) past or his acts—both on a personal level and on the larger political stage. Mugo is beautifully drawn, as are most of the other major characters and, for the first time in my experience of Ngugi’s book, I found myself believing that these were real people. ( )
  Gypsy_Boy | Aug 23, 2023 |
This is such a powerful novel. It explores the complexities and nuances of human struggle for survival, contemplates morality in a world corrupted by colonialism, and asks, “What does it mean to be free?” A book which does not seek to provide easy answers. I took many notes and underlined a lot. Destined to be a top read of the year for me. ( )
  psalva | Aug 11, 2023 |
Unlike a novel where historic events provide a backdrop for the characters’ lives, here we are invited to understand Kenyan Uhuru, already in crisis three years later, as the product of the flawed human beings, (not the specific historical characters, but any human beings), that have brought it to birth. Biblical ideas around Original Sin, as suggested by the book’s title, and notions of generational conflict/sexual rivalry popularised by Freud seem to dictate the author’s focus on the lives of a few members of a rural community, mostly told in flashback. Given the author’s premise we cannot expect any real resolution. I enjoyed this mostly as a glimpse into events I’m afraid I knew only by a reference in Beyond the Fringe.
  booksaplenty1949 | Jun 13, 2023 |
OK, learnt something about the Mau Mau and colonialism. He's a proficient writer but I really didnt find it very interesting. ( )
  starbox | Dec 14, 2022 |
This book demonstrates the imperfections of humanity with elegance. At first, I found it a little tricky to follow whose point of view was being written, and I admit confusing a couple of characters due to similar names, but the characters were written with such gentle, unjudging empathy that you couldn't help but feel for them, deeply. ( )
1 stem KittyCatrinCat | Aug 29, 2021 |
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A GRAIN OF WHEAT portrays several characters in a village whose intertwined lives are transformed by the 1952-1960 Emergency in Kenya. As the action follows the village's arrangements for Uhuru (independence) Day, this is a novel of stories within stories, a narrative interwoven with myth as well as allusions to real-life leaders of the nationalist struggle, including Jomo Kenyatta. At the centre of it all is the reticent Mugo, the village's chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret. As events unfold, compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed and loves are tested.

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