• Title: A Grain of Wheat
  • Author: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
  • ISBN: 9780435909871
  • Page: 463
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 Emergenc
    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 1960 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 narratiSet 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 1960 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 interwoven 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 tested.

    One Reply to “A Grain of Wheat”

    1. A Grain of Wheat centres a political narrative about the struggle for independence and liberation in Kenya; about rebellion against British imperialism, and on this level it is searing, laying bare the injustice from the point of view of a richly varied cast of rural Kenyan people. Ngugi draws on Conrad to nuance the idealistic, but cold and inhuman character of the white DO, Thompson. He gives space to the character of each of the people in the village, revealing their motives in all their ambi [...]

    2. Great introduction to African literature. I can't believe this is the first book I'm reading by an African writer.

    3. AFRICAN BOOKS MARATHONBOOK: 4TITLE: A Grain of WheatAUTHOR: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’oCOUNTRY: KenyaThis was not an easy novel. The exchange between the present and the past was (mainly at the beginning) confusing, but you get used to it as the novel progress. The same goes with the names. You don't know if Mumbi is a woman or a man, or if Karanja is a she or a he. But you get used to it as well. The present time of A Grain of Wheat takes place in the 4 days before Kenya's independence from the Briti [...]

    4. 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. Ngũgĩ 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 unequivocally a time of celebration for Kenyans. Thiong'o dashes this pic [...]

    5. Two HeartsI could start with two quotes, words spoken by two characters in two very different dialogues:«Which of us does not carry a weight in the heart?» And:«Strike terror in the heart of the oppressor.»A Grain of Wheat, 1967: we are just a few years from the end of colonial rule (the day of proclamation of the independence of Kenya is December 12, 1963) and there is nothing celebratory.Indeed, the dominant theme is betrayal, ubiquitous in all its meanings and ramifications.And, with betr [...]

    6. كلما أبحرت أكثر في الأدب الأفريقي، كلما تأكدت أكثر من أنه يخبئ النفائس بين حروفه، وكلما ازددت حبا لقراءة المزيد منهوهذه رواية تستحق القراءة، أبدع فيها أنغوجي بطريقة سرده للأحداث، فأمتعنا بمراوحته بين الماضي والحاضر، وبين مشاهد يتركها هنيهة ليعود ويركز الضوء عليها ثانية، م [...]

    7. A Grain of Wheat is a novel about the inhabitants of a village in Kenya in 1963 in the last few days before the celebrations for Uhuru — that is, Kenyan independence. It was originally published in 1967, so the material was completely current at the time, although after finishing it that I read in the introduction that Ngũgĩ revised A Grain of Wheat in 1987, to make the ‘world outlook’ of his peasants more in line with his ideas of the historical triumph of the oppressedd thatNgũgĩ has [...]

    8. Ngugi is one of my favorite authors. This novel is a stunning portrayal of British colonialism in Kenya in the lead up to Independence. What is most powerful is the narration that focuses on several characters through flashbacks about their relation to the British and to the Mau Mau resistance fighters. I especially love the way Ngugi portrays how many of these characters internalize colonialism and shows the damaging consequences of this not only on a personal level, but also on a communal one. [...]

    9. Frederick Jameson üçüncü dünyanın romanının bir toplumsal alegori olduğunu söylüyormuş. Jameson'ın bu tespiti şarkiyatçı anlayışın üçüncü dünya ile ilgili toptancı mantığı şeklinde suçlansa dahi yanlışlanması zor. Alegorik olmaktan başka çaresi de yoktur belki de söz konusu dünyanın romanının. Mesela bu romanın yazıldığı dönemde kıta Afrika'sının insanları henüz insan olduklarını bile kabul ettirememişler.

    10. i found this book a little difficult to grasp and understand. The book continuously and unexpectedly went into flashback and it left me a bit confused, even though i do see this as one of the author's techniques and styles, I personally found it difficult to understand. I however have so much for Kenya and their struggle for independence and the trials and tribulations they went through, whether it be betrayal by their own people or by the British. It clearly depicted and painted a picture as to [...]

    11. An impressive novel that takes a bit of concentration to figure out the various characters and changes in the time of the event. The story of the years leading up to Kenya's independence is told through a set of characters who represent the oppressor, the freedom fighter, the unwitting hero, and those who were traitors. The author showed the impact of the fight for independence on all of these characters and also of the communities they lived in. Written in only three years after independence, t [...]

    12. A story of Kenyan independence and the toll the preceding struggle took on people.Well, this is embarrassing--I don't know what to rate this. Based on the first couple pages I'd pegged it as a slog, and not expecting to enjoy it but feeling I should read it anyway for my world fiction challenge, read nearly half the book in a crowded place with divided attention. Turns out this is a complex story with a lot of names (many of them similar), a lot of jumping back and forth between past and present [...]

    13. Astonishingly good. I am no expert on African literature--or any literature for that matter--and bought this as a blind buy at my local, pure and simple. In fact, I probably bought it on the basis of his name, shallow, yes, but it's served me well in the past: buy everything you can't pronounce.Ngugi's novel is a story of the last few days before Kenya became independent. The numerous characters have colliding and intersecting storylines that weave in and out of the themes of desperation, betray [...]

    14. I used to assign this book to high school students. The Mau Mau rebellion and the emergency are exciting to history students, I think. When you think of all the similar stories of a colonial policy of concentration camps during a rebellion, the US in Vietnam and the Philippines, the Germans in South West Africa, the French in Algeria, the British in Malaysia and so on, this book is as relevant as anything to world history. Also it might be the single best piece of art about those experiences (po [...]

    15. A masterpiece. The characters are sharply drawn and the plot is indisputably powerful. I am very moved by the depth of characterization (helped along by the seamless omniscient point of view; this gently reminds readers of the inner struggles, innate morality, and complexity of even the characters (and/or actions) we are initially eager to hate. Perhaps I'm oversimplifying something that I don't understand fully, but I would say that the thrust of Ngugi's argument is that the political situation [...]

    16. This is an absolutely brilliant piece of literature describing life in a Kenyan village in the aftermath of the war with Britain in the 1960s, where each villager has their own secret about their actions during the violence, slowly tearing everyone apart. Despite the grim premise, I really enjoyed reading this and got a insight into the life of people in a very different world.Will make you want to go to Kenya

    17. All along I avoided reading writers who use the stream of unconsciousness , but this one couldn't but finish it and I seriously have no idea how I have I really hated the book and loved it at the same time it is a wide door , a huge one to the African Lit , and Civ the mere description of their lives , made me want to visit Kenya. Wa thiong'o is such a great writer , and I loved his philosophy , I loved how he made me as an Algerian reader , believe in the black power over the Whitman . So ba [...]

    18. I think my rating is more of a 4.5!This really surprised me! I was slightly confused at the beginning of the novel, but I grew so invested in these characters and their stories. Such a powerful, political and complex historical novel. It jumps from the present (1963 - Independence day in Kenya) to the characters' pasts and we see how their lives are interwoven and connected. The characters are complex and feel real.

    19. This is much more of an indictment of colonialism than Paradise, which is understandable in the context. The route to independence for Kenya was a violent and divisive one, while Tanzania had a mostly peaceful transition.The book is set post-independence, but concerns memories of actions during the 'unrest'. All the characters did things, or failed to do something they could have done, which they examine in the run-up to the independence celebrations. Very few of these actions and the motives fo [...]

    20. I went into this novel comparing it to Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, which in spite of its many rave reviews I found to be relatively underwhelming. In my opinion, A Grain of Wheat was much better, but also very different.The structure and style of A Grain of Wheat is certainly more complex and underscores Ngũgĩ's experience and education with western literature. Additionally, he includes a white colonial perspective on Kenya's independence, and while this view isn't as clearly developed [...]

    21. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. If I had more time, I could write pages and pages of stuff about it and what I liked, what it made me think about, etc. but I don't have time, so suffice it to say that this book takes a fascinating look at the aftermath of the fight for independence in Kenya. Each character is treated with such compassion, and the book takes no moral stance, simply presenting events from everyone's point of view and leaving the reader to judge (or not). [...]

    22. It took me a while to digest this book after I finished reading it because like many others have mentioned it contains many interwoven stories and the novel uses a lot of flashback. Also, I was just not quite sure what the grain of wheat, whose produce could not be predicted at the time of planting, was exactly. I finally decided that it was the State of the Emergency. With that the novel portrays the different effects that the State of Emergency in Kenya from 1952-1959, had on different people [...]

    23. I read recently a story about the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. Basically it went like this: the Jury wanted to grant the Prize to Ngugi wa Thiong'o (in actual fact the joke was about a Japanese author) and they couldn't write the name correctly, therefore decided that Dylan was easier to remember and write. This is just a joke, but it hides a truth: Ngugi is a great author.He delivers a political novel, highly committed, about Uhuru, Freedom, in December 1963, and the fight that brought it. [...]

    24. I am flirting with giving this either 3 or 3.5 stars. I use a 0-10 scale, so the number of stars used on the 1-5 scale are doubled. I would also specify if a book gets no stars or half a star.As for A Grain of Wheat, I feel that I should have started with another Ngugi wa Thiong'o novel after reading about the overview of what they were about. This novel primarily follows the influence Mugo has on a Kenyan society that is doing their best to obtain independence from Britain. In addition, the nov [...]

    25. This book is fantastic on so many levels. It's set on the eve of Kenya's independence and manages to humanize a complicated and bloody history in a way that lots of books set around war don't. It tracks a few different people and their experiences--yes, experiences which are all colored by racial tensions and colonialist rule and revolution, but somehow the author manages to keep the story true to each individual experience rather than resorting to broad generalizations about oppression and war. [...]

    26. Author nominated for Booker International Prize 2009. Greatly enjoyed this book although there was a section I got bogged down in toward the middle. Read this the same time as I'm struggling through City Sister Silver and the similarities in theme are striking: self-rule; horrors of civil unrest and lack of human rights; search for love and acceptance; accepting responsibility and finding one's "tribe" or place in life.

    27. Didacticism and related flaws aside, A Grain of Wheat is a perfect example of a character-driven novel. Mugo, Gikonyo, and the rest of the African characters are all fantastically drawn out, and I'm far more interested in their interplay then their relationship with the crudely drawn colonialist Thompson. And when I see how those very human, very flawed characters try to make do in tough times-- trying to maintain their livelihoods, betraying each other politically and sexually-- I find A Grain [...]

    28. Don't have time yet to write this up, and besides, I'm currently stewing in that post-getting-wolloped thoughtfulness of a complex book I haven't fully dissected. I might start over and review after my second round on this one. We're talking treason, forgiveness, courage/weakness, and about ten other really deep themes he rips open and lets fall all over the place. Damn, Ngugi, packin it in.

    29. One the first English-speaking African novels I read. I will never forget Mugo and Kihika as I was taught by Dr. Mouzan.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *