Wizard of the Crow

“Wizard of the Crow” by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya)


In exile for more than twenty years, Ngugi 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 2,000 years of world history.’

Commencing in ‘our times’ and set in the ‘Free Republic of Aburiria,’ the novel dramatizes with corrosive humour and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburirian people. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, Ngugi reveals humanity in all its ceaselessly surprising complexity… Read more

Favourite Quote

Maybe knowledge was nothing more than the art of looking at what we already know with different eyes, and asking different questions.

My view

At 766 pages, this was the longest of the 6 Big Books from my reading list. I was captured by the story from the start and warmed to the protagonists, Kamiti and Nyawira. This epic novel is boldly funny and insightful, and was a true pleasure to read. I highly recommend it!

Seven suggestions of healthy living from Kamiti and Nyawira (enlightenment from Book Three of “Wizard of the Crow”):
1) Take care of the body, for it is the temple of the soul
2) Watch ye what you eat and drink all the time
3) Greed makes death greedy for life
4) Cigarettes arrest life; alcohol holds the mind prisoner
5) Life is a common stream from which plant, animal, and humans draw
6) The good comes from balance
7) Don’t abandon yours for a mirage

Big Books Challenge 2014 reading list

There were some books in my to-read pile that I’d been putting off reading for years because they are over 400 pages long. So one of the reading resolutions I set myself for 2014 was to choose six of them to read that year (one every 2 months). And I did it; I cracked their spines and finished them all! The 6 books were:

“I Am A Cat” by Soseki Natsume (Japan) – 470 pages
“Wizard of the Crow” by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya) – 766 pages
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia) – 422 pages
“Three Day Road” by Joseph Boyden (Canada) – 432 pages
“No Man’s Land” by Duong Thu Huong (Vietnam) – 450 pages
“A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry (India) – 614 pages

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