A Grain of Wheat by Ngugiwa Thiong’o

 A Grain of Wheat by Ngugiwa Thiong’o

This novel provides a really great insight into a period of history that isn’t well known about in this country, or one that has long since been forgotten about: the end of Britain’s colonial rule of Kenya. Over the long period that the Mau-Mau were fighting against the British, the world changed and colonies were seen as no longer fitting, not in a world after the defeat of Nazism. In this time the people of Kenya, as represented by a diverse range of characters in this novel, were variously tortured, brutalised and killed, or were forced to betray their friends, brothers or husbands who had taken up arms to form a resistance to the colonial rulers. Concentration camps, mass killings, torture and the whole gamut of inhumane tricks characteristic of war and occupation throughout the ages were employed; it is in this world the novel’s characters live out their lives, usually falling foul of each other or the harsh conditions imposed upon them. Outside of the historical interest, there are some well drawn characters and convincing narrative strands, but also some less well drawn and less convincing. But a worthwhile read overall.

 

Mr A

 

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