Wizard of the Crow

Wizard of the Crow

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o / Sep 18, 2019

Wizard of the Crow From the exiled Kenyan novelist playwright poet and literary critic a magisterial comic novel that is certain to take its place as a landmark of postcolonial African literature In exile now for tha

  • Title: Wizard of the Crow
  • Author: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
  • ISBN: 9780375422485
  • Page: 122
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the exiled Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet, and literary critic a magisterial comic novel that is certain to take its place as a landmark of postcolonial African literature.In exile now for than twenty years, Ng g wa Thiong o has become one of the most widely read African writers of our time, the power and scope of his work garnering him international attentiFrom the exiled Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet, and literary critic a magisterial comic novel that is certain to take its place as a landmark of postcolonial African literature.In exile now for than twenty years, Ng g wa Thiong o has become one of the most widely read African writers of our time, the power and scope of his work garnering him international attention and praise His aim in Wizard of the Crow is, in his own words,nothing less than to sum up Africa of the twentieth century in the context of two thousand years of world history Commencing in our times and set in the Free Republic of Abur ria, the novel dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Abur rian people Among the contenders His High Mighty Excellency the eponymous Wizard, an avatar of folklore and wisdom the corrupt Christian Ministry and the nefarious Global Bank Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, Wizard of the Crow reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity.Informed by richly enigmatic traditional African storytelling, Wizard of the Crow is a masterpiece, the crowning achievement in Ngugl wa Thiong o s career thus far.

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    About "Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o"

      • Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

        Kenyan teacher, novelist, essayist, and playwright, whose works function as an important link between the pioneers of African writing and the younger generation of postcolonial writers After imprisonment in 1978, Ng g abandoned using English as the primary language of his work in favor of Gikuyu, his native tongue The transition from colonialism to postcoloniality and the crisis of modernity has been a central issues in a great deal of Ng g s writings Ng g wa Thiong o was born in Kamiriithu, near Limuru, Kiambu District, as the fifth child of the third of his father s four wives At that time Kenya was under British rule, which ended in 1963 Ng g s family belonged to the Kenya s largest ethnic group, the Gikuyu His father, Thiong o wa Nducu, was a peasant farmer, who was forced to become a squatter after the British Imperial Act of 1915 Ng g attended the mission run school at Kamaandura in Limuru, Karinga school in Maanguu, and Alliance High School in Kikuyu During these years Ng g became a devout Christian However, at school he also learned about the Gikuyu values and history and underwent the Gikuyu rite of passage ceremony Later he rejected Christianity, and changed his original name in 1976 from James Ng g , which he saw as a sign of colonialism, to Ng g wa Thiong o in honor of his Gikuyu heritage After receiving a B.A in English at Makerere University College in Kampala Uganda in 1963, Ng g worked briefly as a journalist in Nairobi He married in 1961 Over the next seventeen years his wife, Nyambura, gave birth to six children In 1962 Ng g s play THE BLACK HERMIT was produced in Kampala In 1964 he left for England to pursue graduate studies at the Leeds University in England.The most prominent theme in Ng g s early work was the conflict between the individual and the community As a novelist Ng g made his debut with WEEP NOT, CHILD 1964 , which he started to write while he was at school in England It was the first novel in English to be published by an East African author Ng g used the Bildungsroman form to tell the story of a young man, Njoroge He loses his opportunity for further education when he is caught between idealistic dreams and the violent reality of the colonial exploitation THE RIVER BETWEEN 1965 had as its background the Mau Mau Rebellion 1952 1956 The story was set in the late 1920s and 1930s and depicted an unhappy love affair in a rural community divided between Christian converts and non Christians A GRAIN OF WHEAT 1967 marked Ng g s break with cultural nationalism and his embracing of Fanonist Marxism Ng g refers in the title to the biblical theme of self sacrifice, a part of the new birth unless a grain of wheat die The allegorical story of one man s mistaken heroism and a search for the betrayer of a Mau Mau leader is set in a village, which has been destroyed in the war The author s family was involved in the Mau Mau uprising Ng g s older brother had joined the movement, his stepbrother was killed, and his mother was arrested and tortured Ng g s village suffered in a campaign.In the 1960s Ng g was a reporter for the Nairobi Daily Nation and editor of Zuka from 1965 to 1970 He worked as a lecturer at several universities at the University College in Nairobi 1967 69 , at the Makerere University in Kampala 1969 70 , and at the Northwestern University in Evanston in the United States 1970 71 Ng g had resigned from his post at Nairobi University as a protest against government interference in the university, be he joined the faculty in 1973, becoming an associate professor and chairman of the department of literature It had been formed in response to his and his colleagues criticism of English the British government had made in the 1950s instruction in English mandatory Ng g had asked in an article, written with Taban lo Liyong and Henry Owuor Anyumba, If there is need for a s


    1. This is a monumental, epic book that encompasses most of Africa's post-colonial history, and one which I feel hopelessly unqualified to review. It was originally written in the Gĩkũyũ language, for local consumption in Kenya, and was translated into English by the author himself. It is an outrageous mixture of fantasy, farce and social commentary which draws on history, religion and local mythology. At different times I was reminded of Bulgakov, Rushdie and Marquez, but it occupies a truly un [...]

    2. In Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature, Ngugi wa Thiong'o complained that African neo-colonial leaders behave so ridiculously that it's hard to satirise them (similarly, my Dad recently quoted to me from an interview about Bremner Bird & Fortune 'it's getting easier to make fun of politicians. Lots of our later sketches mainly consisted of reading out government policy') but he manages to do it here to painfully funny effect. At the same time he completely d [...]

    3. While I enjoyed the first part of this satire of political unrest, economic hypocrisy and social upheaval, I was distracted by too much going on: too many pages, characters, sub stories, and more. Three hundred pages in and it was all so much, that I couldn't stay with Kamiti as he morphed from graduate student, to unemployed man, then homeless beggar, and then Wizard of the Crow. I wondered if a few more pages could have been edited out, the narrative arc tightened, and the country…well, whic [...]

    4. Wizard of the CrowFROM THE BLURBCommencing in “our times” and set in the “Free Republic of Aburlria,” the novel dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburirian people. Among the contenders: His High Mighty Excellency; the eponymous Wizard, an avatar of folklore and wisdom; the corrupt Christian Ministry; and the nefarious Global Bank. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, Wizard of th [...]

    5. I have a thing for books that create their own mythologies, and Wizard of the Crow has risen to the top of that list. Set in a fictional African country, this novel takes a serious romp through a stretch of land containing a Postcolonial dictatorship at odds with its people, hysterically played out through a young couple claiming to be The Wizard of the Crow, a sorcerer capable of knowing even The Ruler's deepest secret, the guilt of "white envy," by divination through a mirror. I realize this r [...]

    6. There are quite a few legends in this world. One of the oldest tells of how the people of Babylon decided to build a tower all the way up to Heaven. But to no one’s great surprise, The Lord disapproved, and not only did he tear the tower down but by making everyone speak different languages he also made sure that nothing like it would ever happen again.Bah humbug, says the dictator of the compleeetely fictional African country of Aburiria (really, it has absolutely nothing to do with wa Thiong [...]

    7. This is a fantastic piece of satire. If you enjoyedThe Master and Margarita orGulliver's Travels, you're almost certain to appreciate this book. On the other hand, if you're a fan ofGabriel García Márquez andSalman Rushdie, you will find a familiar voice inNgugi Wa'Thiong'O.I can not recommend this book highly enough. I couldn't put it down, and I loved every minute of it. You should read it.

    8. Set the fictional dictatorship of Abruria, this 2006 novel chronicles the decline of the corrupt Ruler and the rise of the resistance, which is inextricably linked with a powerful figure known as the Wizard of the Crow. Sounds very grand, doesn't it? And it certainly is, with a broad and varied cast of characters from all walks of life and a powerful message of hope. The label "magical realism" gets tossed around a lot these days, nearly invariably referring to a nonwhite author's mixing of the [...]

    9. These weapons are to protect our right to political struggle and not a substitute for political struggle.I'll have this book be the closing point to 2017 because firstly I'm tired and secondly a massive political satire seems a good way to end on of the most baffling political years in recent US history. Much as I probably should, I can't seem to avoid cutting my teeth on new authors via their biggest books, so when I desired to explore Nobel Prize for Lit potentials, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o came to [...]

    10. This is the African classic novel. Probably as good as any novel gets in depicting Africa's post colonialism culture, politics and problems.It depicts a fictitious country with a despotic Ruler. His two closest aides jostle for attention and one-upmanship.Everyone in power are corrupt. Everyone not in power are poor. The USA and IMF/World Bank take a hammering in trying to ensuring the now independent African nations remain dependent on US dollars.The Churches are hammered as not matter what the [...]

    11. Epic, satirical, magical-realism account of the fictional African country of Aburiria. Aburiria is an African dictatorship run by a typical African big-man “The Ruler” whose control over the country remains strong but who increasingly struggles to find his way in a post Cold-War world where his previous allies in the West now criticise the very actions for which he was once praised and who increasingly finds himself a puppet of the American led Global Bank. He is surrounded by sycophantic mi [...]

    12. Well, finally finished the nearly 800 page novel, The Wizard of the Crow, by Nugui wa Thiongo. I read much of Nugui’s novels and other works during my political activists days in college. I wrote a paper about one of his most respected novels, Devil on the Cross. The professor who helped me with the paper wanted me to present it at an African literature conference at Standford Univ. (this was in the mid 1980s), but I was too shy to do it. I wasn’t very good at speaking in front of large gath [...]

    13. If anyone is intimidated by 750+ page length, you certainly shouldn't. It was definitely the main reason why I had to put this off for so long (like, years!), as I am an ESL after all and read much much slower in English compared to my first language of Japanese. However, as soon as I started reading I got sucked in, and didn't even think about what page I am on. The novel is written in simple language that is easy to understand and entertaining to read, but also deep and rich with history and p [...]

    14. This book is ambitious and over-the-top! Can science, psychiatry, and moral political activism resolve brutal abuses of political power or must spiritual values and practices of global religions (ancient and contemporary) be employed as well? So many storytellers in this tale---many are corrupt and greedy liars merely trying to save their own asses but the tales they come up with! Their utterances and praises! Convincingness to the Nth degree! Call-and-response, repetition, cues from the audienc [...]

    15. Wow, an astonishing book. So much is encompassed within the poetic prose; Wa Thiong'o speaks eloquently about the effects of colonialism in African countries, about the violence against women across the globe, and about the poison that seeps into governments that are entangled in capitalist campaigns. Wa Thiong'o is able to tell a history that makes you question the importance of facts, dates, and names. His characters stand for many men and women, his country stands for many countries, and the [...]

    16. Ngugi wa Thiong'o is an exiled Kenyan writer. Born in Kenya he was baptized as a Christian. He renounced it, even English, changed his name to ' Ngugi wa Thiong'o' and writes in his native tongue. He then translates them back himself to English. This is how his novels are published. He is also an opponent of the oppressive Kenyan government and has suffered a lot due to that. More on that later. His novels do not focus on the effect of colonization and conversion to Christianity in Africa as is [...]

    17. As a look into Africa, African culture and African Literature this book is excellent. It’s satirical and deeply serious, and clearly written by someone who understands and is passionate about it. The characters are incredibly layered and complex and even the ones you assume are the “bad guys” you end up understanding and sympathizing with. This is very important, because while it’s very clear whose side you ought to be on, real life is never that black and white. This is something the bo [...]

    18. Oh man, I can't believe I finished! I feel like finishing this book was an accomplishment. Many people compare this African novel to the Confederacy of Dunces and I see the similarities, but getting into the story is a full-time effort and commitment. Its worth it in the end, especially if you appreciate the style of African story-telling, long-winded at times as it is.

    19. Riemastuttava tragikoominen kohelluskertomus afrikkalaisesta diktatuurista, pyrkyreiden kilpailusta, uskontojen ja uskomusten sekoittumisesta ja legendojen synnystä. Tarinaan mukaan pääsemisessä kesti hetkensä, ja aina välillä tuntui, että nyt jää jotain symboliikkaa ymmärtämättä, mutta sitten päästiin taas hersyviin käänteisiin ja absurdeihin takaa-ajokohtauksiin. Samaan aikaan tiukasti uusliberalistisen globalisaation aikaan sidottu ja ajaton kertomus, jonka aikajana venyy ja [...]

    20. I realized that writing reviews was taking so much away from reading time that I decided to limit myself to books that had only a few reviews (and that I liked) or that I felt strongly about. This falls into the second category.I went to see Thiong’o at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco last year (when the University volume of his autobiography was published), since he is mentioned so frequently as a contender for the Nobel. This book explains why.Is it an epic? Some reviews say yes, some [...]

    21. I read about this satirical book in the Wall Street Journal and was curious. It was on display at the library and I was shocked at how long it is, 765 pages and it is worth the read. The book satirizes and essentializes post-colonial African politics in a fable like story. The whole book is filled with lessons about government corruption, overcoming patriarchy, and the complexity of racial and economic relationships. The hero and heroine Kamiti and Nywira are righteous and lovable rebels who use [...]

    22. This might be my new favorite book. An absolute masterful blend of magical realism and social commentary, infused with vivid storytelling and a good dose of comedy - this book has it all. I've seen reviews hail Thiong'o as the "African Gabriel Garcia Marquez" and this book as the "African Brave New World" but I think both descriptors do this book a disservice. Having read the other author and novel, I believe this book rises far above them.Though set in a fictional locale, Thiong'o draws directl [...]

    23. *bumping this up to 5 stars. after a couple of months i'm realising this book is going to stay with me, and I rather miss it. I need to read more stuff by him soon*I read the first 40 pages (Book One) of this novel before going to bed, and absolutely loved it. Book One told of the myths and stories surrounding the despotic ruler of the post-colonial African nation in which this novel is set. The writing and stories were so wonderfully creative and rich. Then from Book Two onwards we are introduc [...]

    24. I've got a multi-installment lit rant in defense of political fiction running over at my blog Read Red, and now that I've finished this magnificent novel I'll soon be writing about Ngugi's book to back up my arguments. Of course, the U.S. literary establishment finds it easier to praise political works from other countries, it seems to me, than those from here, both because "foreign" literature is, well, foreign, and because, especially in the case of African fiction, they're happy to concentrat [...]

    25. Brilliant work. A master of story teller. I enjoy every word, every page and every character. A page turner.It is funny and sad at the same time. This 766 pages of book is a lot to chew in one sitting. I don't mind. There's something to look forward after a long day at work. I wonder what happen next, with the Ruler and the Wizard. It seems like a character can appear and disappear without warning - that could be reality of many in real world. A joke that not so much of a joke. A plot that took [...]

    26. Perhaps a bit too long for my taste - or maybe it would've seemed shorter if I didn't have to write an essay about it plus 1929127 things more for uni - but a great satirical novel nonetheless. I particularly loved the focus on black feminism and women's rights as well as the criticism throughout the novel of corrupt governments taking over the colonial legacy once the colonisers leave. It is also a beautiful work of magical realism - reminds me a bit of Ben Okri's short stories - that I definit [...]

    27. I am only half way through this 770 page book and while I enjoy the writing style I think it would have been better as a 300 pager. I like the magical realism and satirical writing, but I am sick of being beat over the head with the idea that everyone is greedy. There is very little description of the physical landscape of the city where the book takes place and it makes the the story seem as though it could have happened almost anywhere. While this may be good for some stories, I miss it in thi [...]

    28. This is the best satire of African politics I've read so far. It was beautifully written, witty and enthralling. It got me enamored of African lit afresh.

    29. this is a long book. not the longest i have read but one of the longest i have read so quickly. satire, allegory, comic set-pieces, in clear, often ironic, prose, makes this an enjoyable read. the outline of the plot is elsewhere, i wish only to add that it is everything and more and an incisive parody of a certain kind of country, leadership, globalized, and newly beholden to the same mercenary forces of old. there are many great names, great scenes, satire of the global bank and Europeans and [...]

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