A Grain of Wheat

A Grain of Wheat

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
2
"Set in the wake of the Mau Mau rebellion and on the cusp of Kenya's independence from Britain, [this novel] 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."--Publisher.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2012
ISBN: 9780143106760
0143106767
Branch Call Number: FIC NGUGI 2012
Characteristics: xvi, 242 pages ; 20 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
k
kigersthree
Nov 03, 2018

(I paired this reading with Ousmane Sembène's "God's Bits of Wood", which was a MaineCat lending borrow for me. That means that book is not in my home library's catalog, so I don't see a way to review it. I'll copy that review below.)

Review for "A Grain of Wheat" -

This is not an easy book. It's awful and unsettling in so many ways.

I think that for me, the book is not about Uhuru/Kenyan 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 Uhuru/Independence) 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 concentration/detention 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 affected.

Still 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 know.

It's not a fluffy or gentle read, that's for sure.

---------------------

Review for "God's Bits of Wood" -

5 stars
Incredible book. Highly readable, very gentle in tone. You almost are lulled into not quite feeling the real pain and cost of their months long struggle. Almost. It breaks to the surface, but what I'm most left with is the manner of peace, within the various family groups and communities.

It's a great book.

---------------------

(review copied from my goodreads account)

a
alexy93
Aug 13, 2010

A wonderful read. The novel is set on the eve of Kenya's independence from British rule. It centers on the theme of oppression, betrayal, disillusionment, and despair. The plot is non-linear, with flashbacks and several storylines interspersed but woven nicely together.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at SPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top