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One Day I Will Write About This Place Hardcover – 3 Nov 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847080219
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847080219
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 372,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`A beguiling account and vibrant celebration of coming of age in post-colonial Africa' --Sunday Times

'An autobiographical portrait of the artist as a young man with brilliant commentary and critique' --Guardian

'Head directly to the bookstore for Binyavanga Wainaina's stand-up-and-cheer coming-of-age memoir' --New York Times

'Wainaina's personal odyssey is compelling and provides insights into the making of this talented writer'
--Wasafiri

'A sharply observed picaresque tale that delivers on the promise of his earlier writing'
--Observer

'Witty, novelistic and dreamy, Wainaina's story is effectively the story of Kenya itself'
--Metro

About the Author

Binyavanga Wainaina was born in Nakuru, Kenya in 1971. He is the founding editor of Kwani?, a leading African literary magazine based in Kenya. He won the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing, and has written for Vanity Fair, Virginia Quarterly, Granta, and The New York Times. Wainaina directs the Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists at Bard College in upstate New York.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read many memoirs and particularly those about life in various parts of Africa- this one was very disappointing. With so many good reviews behind this book, I was certain it would be a good read but it was not. While the authors style of writing is certainly very interesting, the story is lost in far too many strange descriptions. It is a lot like modern art- some will look at it and be amazed while others will see nothing more than a haphazard mess. There is a lot of colourful writing but very little substance and story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
.... 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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this book because it is about a place I know. I particularly like the description of the antics of the matatu driver and his assistant. So true to life.
I would love to read more by this author.
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Format: Hardcover
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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