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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2011
One Day I'll Write About This Place is a wonderful depiction of the author's childhood and life.

Binyavang Wainaina's prose borders on magical, even genius in places, and with his marvellous eye for detail, he captures African life in all its animate and inanimate forms sensitively and beautifully. I was mesmerised by his vivid imagination, and the way he analyses and interprets his world through letter sounds and word meanings.

Wainaina describes an Africa seeped in western cultural influences, which surprised this reader, but which was ultimately an honest and welcome alternative to the more familiar descriptions of African life and experience.

Wainaina has a rich talent, skilfully manipulating language to produce an enjoyable story which illustrates the beauty of the written word; definitely worth a read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2011
Having heard Binyavanga read an extract from the then unfinished book a couple of years ago I must admit that I was looking forward to the finished memoir and I can certainly say that it was well worth the wait. In this memoir you learn about Africa but mainly Kenya from independence to the present.

I particularly enjoyed the early years as it reminded me so much of my childhood growing up in Uganda. I could so identify with his obsession with books, Michael Jackson, Boney M and the jheri curl. He is very open and honest about his struggle to find himself and he recounts vividly the political and social struggle taking place in Africa. My only criticism and it is only a small one is that he does not attempt to explore deeper the reasons for his retreat. I found his use of words (kimay, accordion) absolutely fascinating. The extract below where he is describing a choir singing illustrates his brilliance;

"When the mouth is released, the choirs bare their teeth, polite hotel slices of breakfast pawpaw, to look extremely happy. Proud. Pretty. Promising. Eyebrows subside.

My lips close down firmly on each other. Imp. Imprison. Implode. Implant. Impede. After each mp, there is a little explosion of air outward because your lips purse as if prepared to rein in words after each p. Improve. Impress."

The book is littered with such gems, Binyavanga is a master wordsmith.

All in all this is a great read, you definitely get a sense of Africa that you don't normally see on TV or even read in other books coming out of the continent. I would recommend to everyone.

JJ
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2014
.... quite beautifully with depths of compassion and imagination. Wainaina has written a love letter to contemporary Kenya that is rich in language and passionate in its descriptions. Quite simply an adorably eloquent memoir that is both contemporary and timeless - a great addition to modern world literature.
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on 16 September 2013
I have been looking for time to read this book and once i started could not put it down. Binyavanga has summed up the history of Kenya from post colonial times in a very Afrocentric way. I can relate with many of the stages of his life from the dog eared books we read a lot as kids to the life abroad trying to find oneself and tears for our country during 2007 elections debacle. I particularly liked how he tackles the tribalism debate in Kenya which most people do not have the balls to se for what it is. This is the best book I have read this year. I am looking forward to his other works
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2014
Fantastic observations. Sometimes the simplest observations are the most devastating.
I hope there are more books to come. Very moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2014
Everything has been better than I expected. Very good and especially fast. The prices were really clear and I did not have any problem.
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on 29 June 2012
I bought and read this book with others at 'African Reading Group, Manchester' - Highly RECOMMENDED!

Author is quite unique and daring with his style of writing, and could be likewise seen as provocative(?). Binyanvanga Wainaina brings to fore his widely travelled experience to play in this 'one off kind' of novel writing.

A question that my wondering would attempt to find out is "what does fame do to distinguished writers?"
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on 7 January 2014
The writing in this book is full of imagery. It takes you on a journey replete with interesting characters. Although this is an autobiography, I truly felt the author was trying hard to make this book more about the people he met in his life rather than himself. I think it is a good attempt at cramming and contrasting the worlds that he experienced; not an easy feat.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2011
I really enjoyed this book. Wainaina's dream-like stream of consciousness was so original and fresh. Using beautiful and relatively sparse prose, he manages to convey deep and complex images about Kenya and Africa that don't involve animals and Maasai dancers for once! Funny, elegant, tragic and informative; I highly recommended it. Africa needs more of this sort of writing.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2011
If you are interested in words, memoirs and the country Kenya then this book is for you. Binyavanga, the author takes you on a journey from his youth onwards and gives you an insight into the people, politics and culture of Kenya. He also gives a refreshing look at how he perceives western popular culture as he grew up and its influences. You will be fascinated by the various languages and tribes he refers to and his own family history. Also if you want to know what started him on the road to being a writer then read this book.One Day I Will Write About This Place
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