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In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir [Paperback]

Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Nov 2013
During the early fifties, Kenya was a country in turmoil. While Ngugi enjoys scouting trips, chess tournaments and reading about Biggles at the prestigious Alliance School near Nairobi, things are changing at home. He arrives back for his first visit since starting school to find his house razed to the ground and the entire village moved up the road closer to a guard checkpoint. Later, his brother, Good Wallace, who fights for the rebels, is captured by the British and taken to a concentration camp. Finally, Ngugi himself comes into conflict with the forces of colonialism when he is victimised by a police officer on a bus journey and thrown in prison for six days. This fascinating memoir charts the development of a significant voice in international literature, as well as standing as a record of the struggles of a nation to free itself.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (7 Nov 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0099572249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099572244
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 671,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Growing up in Kenya in the 1950s, the future novelist went to an elite school run by a Briton just as the Mau Mau uprising swept his family into the revolt against colonial rule. This powerful memoir depicts a youth torn between these separate worlds" (i)

"This is a book about a young boy's fear, not just of letting his mother down or failing to fulfill his potential, but some of the worst political violence that Africa endured in the colonial period" (Tim Butcher Mail on Sunday)

"No writer alive today has more complex experience to draw upon or greater resource to convey it" (Brian Morton Glasgow Herald)

"The only thing more amazing than identifying the themes of your life is using them to create deceptively simple literature about it. Such labor is child's play for the Kenyan novelist and playwright Ngugi wa Thiong'o... [With] echoes of Barack Obama's own Dreams... [Thiong'o] easily keeps the balance between the whimsical, political, spiritual and personal" (Todd Steven Burroughs Ebony)

"Eloquently telegraphs the complicated experience of being simultaneously oppressed and enlightened at the hands of a colonial regime" (New York Times Book Review)

Book Description

A childhood memoir set in Kenya from the International Man Booker nominated author, Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I lived in Kenya and it was thought provoking and to read of a young boy's expeience of living in a country ruled by the British. He described his initial thirst for knowledge - any knowledge - and how over time he became more discriminating about what he was reading and being taught. An honest, unsentimentalised and intelligent book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 6 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In the House of the Interpreter was just awesome. As always this writer never disappoints. Can't wait for his next book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing 2 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think you have to be really interested in the social and political history of Kenya to enjoy this. There are some interesting/enlightening anecdotes in here but not much of a story and no strong message. Maybe I missed the point somewhere???
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 3 Mar 2013
By bstinson68 - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recommend this book as an example of how the natives were treated in Kenya during imperialism by the British in the 1950s. This book is vivid and so riveting that I could not put it down. Amazing read.
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