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Overview

Barack Obama, via Facebook: “A compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships.”

The Nobel Prize–nominated Kenyan writer’s best-known novel

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 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.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143106760
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/05/2012
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 119,891
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ngugi wa Thiong'o is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and essayist from Kenya whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Irvine, California, where he is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.

Abdulrazak Gurnah is the author of the Booker Prize–shortlisted novel Paradise, among other novels. He was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and teaches English literature at the University of Kent in England.

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A Grain of Wheat 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Centered on the pre-Independence Kenyan struggle between the Mau Mau liberation fighters and the British colonial government, A GRAIN OF WHEAT gives a portrayal of the struggle that few writers have ever depicted. One gets a good picture of the Mau Mau fighters, the attitude of the Colonialists, their the detention camps, the nature of the war, the bloody encounters, the ruthlessness of some of the soldiers of Colonial army and the direction to independence for the African continent. Betrayal, hopes and dreams, horrors and loss are all parts of the story.
deebee1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is the eve of Uhuru (Independence Day) and in the village of Thabai somewhere in Kenya, preparations are being made for the big celebration, the successful end of many years of struggle under British domination. We meet the local leaders who were previous rebel fighters. We learn about their scarred lives and their bitter sacrifices. We learn about individual heroism, but we also learn about acts of betrayal on the pretext of more noble goals. There is the quiet and mysterious Mugo, prompted by the villagers to become leader, but who has his own dark past to conceal. Gikonyo, the most prosperous man in the village, is himself a tortured soul. There are others like them, who felt that Uhuru was also a day of reckoning with their own demons, unleashed during the dark days of the Emergency. We thus feel their confusion amidst the transition process, but also their hope for a future all their own. The plot is non-linear, with flashbacks and several storylines interspersed but woven nicely together. Beyond being a captivating read, it is a meditation on the themes of oppression, betrayal, disillusionment, and love and despair.
akeela on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi. This novel is set on the eve of independence from British rule in Kenya, in the early 60s. The protagonists are a handful of men, including Gikonyo and Mugo who each face their own demons after time spent in prison and detention camps, as political prisoners. This is a country on the brink of change, so there is a fair amount of hope as the resistance plots and plans for the new, free nation they envisage.The story unfolds from a number of varying perspectives, and a picture emerges of an entire community in turmoil. Amongst the male protagonists there is, of course, a beautiful woman in the form of the desirable Mumbi, who has stolen the imagination of more than one of the men, which leads to all sorts of interesting events. Ngugi is a supreme storyteller with the amazing ability to build up tension in the plot. He literally had me on the edge of my seat a few times during the telling! There¿s intrigue as the whole community rallies to find the person responsible for the betrayal and murder of their struggle hero. Furthermore there¿s a compelling blend of joy, hope, tragedy, fear and disillusionment that makes for an informative but great read!
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Grain of Wheat takes place during Kenya's struggle for independence from British rule in the 1950s. It centers around four central African characters and one British administrator. The central theme of the story is deceit both on a national and personal level. Two examples:Ngugi's main character is Mugo, a quiet Kenyan who is sent to the concentration camps. He is a complex, yet human character in that he is seen as a hero in the concentration camps but once released he sides with the British as a traitor. Another strong character of A Grain of Wheat is Gikonya, another detainee from the concentration camp who is released early only to find that his wife has been unfaithful and has a child with another man.
awils1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
No doubt a beautiful book for its time, I couldn't handle the sexism of the story, and as such, had to give up on the read.
kidzdoc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This stunning and searing novel, which was written by Mr Thiong'o in 1967, is set in a village in Kenya just prior to the country's independence from Britain in 1963. However, much of the story takes place during the Emergency (referred to by the British as the Mau Mau Uprising) that took place from 1952-1960, which led to the deaths of a few dozen settlers and tens of thousands of Kenyans, and caused the destruction of numerous villages and the breakdown of Kenyan social and economic society. The main characters in this story were all caught up in the retribution that took place after a freedom fighter from the village kills a particularly violent District Officer, and each of them betrays someone dear to them or to the movement, with devastating results. I was unaware of how horrible the Emergency was, but Mr Thiong'o gives us an unforgettable view of colonial Kenya.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bbt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Centered on the pre-Independence Kenyan struggle between the Mau Mau liberation fighters and the British colonial government, Grain of Wheat gives a portrayal of the struggle that few writers have ever depicted. One gets a good picture of the Mau Mau fighters, the attitude of the Colonialists, their the detention camps, the nature of the war, the bloody encounters, the ruthlessness of some of the soldiers of Colonial army and the direction to independence for the African continent. Betrayal, hopes and dreams, horrors and loss are all parts of the story. Like Triple Agent, Double Cross, When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda, Disciples of Fortune, King Leopold's Ghost, we learn that the tragic nature of this story reveals the futility of conflicts which in the end produces no winners, because humanity loses when the majority of the people emerge from a war scarred for life, having lost the innocence that epitomizes the freedom of the soul.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He was gone from the bed when she awoke.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago