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Wizard of the Crow Paperback – 5 Apr 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099502682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099502685
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Unreservedly a masterpiece" (Scotland on Sunday)

"A huge, comic novel... A shimmering, shifting discourse... mythological but also cheerfully disenchanted; political and playful; cartoonish but also epical... the African novel may well have delivered its greatest masterpiece" (Brian Morton Sunday Herald)

"Epic....daring satire" (Sunday Times)

"Fantastic" (John Updike)

"Truly exciting... the author is a master of farce" (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

A magisterial comic novel that is certain to take its place as a landmark of postcolonial African Literature from the exiled Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet, and literary critic.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was first introduced to Ngugi's novels in my African literature class when I was an undergrad. My mentor, Peter Nazareth, who also teaches an incredible course on Elvis Presley, went to college with Ngugi in Uganda and postgraduate school in Leeds, England. The only writer from Africa I'd read up until that course was Achebe, but there are so many truly amazing novels by Africans out there--a whole literature that goes far beyond Things Fall Apart: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Armah, Maru by Bessie Head, A Season of Migration to the North by Salih, The Famished Road by Okri, The Palm-Wine Drunkard by Tutuola, The Book of Secrets by Vassanji, Nehanda by Vera, A Walk in the Night by La Guma, The General Is Up by my mentor Peter Nazareth, and on and on. The best storyteller among them all, however, I must say, in my own opinion, is Ngugi wa Thiong'o. From his first works on up, they've just been better and better. A Grain of Wheat was the first I read, all about England giving up colonial power over Kenya, the Mau Mau movement, and Gikuyu culture. Another of his novels I love and have read several times is Devil on the Cross. He was detained by the Kenyan government in the late seventies after his novel Petals of Blood sparked the popular imagination and made him a threat to the regime. While in detention, he wrote Devil on the Cross, I'm told partly on toilet paper as it was all there was to write upon. Soaring with magic realism, it gives a mythic, moral critique of the Kenya he was experiencing. It's one of the great books I've read. And until this summer, it was my favorite of his works.

His latest book is Wizard of the Crow and I literally don't have the skills to convey how great it is. It's been awhile since he published a novel.
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Format: Hardcover
A furious, powerful and compelling narrative that might be read with unease in some African political circles (hopefully nobody will be calling for the banning of this book!). Ngugi's Wizard of the Crow lays bare the absurdity of contemporary African political leadership, which by and large is characterized by perverse dictatorships insensitive and contemptuous of the citizenry. If you have been to Africa and wondered how come pot-bellied ruling party functionaries are able to afford monstrous Hummers whilst multitudes are confined to a sorry state of depravity, then this book will help you understand why collective salvation remains a myth on the continent and personal aggrandizement at the expense of exploiting the peasantry is not seen for the vice which it is. Ngugi introduces the reader to the murky politics of greed, selfishness, corruption, sycophancy, rivalry and intimidation, which blight much of post-colonial Africa. In this prodigious literary work Ngugi lashes out at the sycophants who form the African political elite, mocking their singular obsession with pleasing the whims of the ruler, a strongman who relies on the nation's security forces to stifle political opposition. Indeed Ngugi's Ruler of the Free Republic of Aburiria is the archetypical sub-Sahara African dictator, sharing quite some traits with Moi, Mobutu and Museveni. Ngugi is also mindful that the blame for Africa's agonizing hopelessness is equally shared by western institutions and governments that for selfish reasons continue to support dictatorial regimes and hence help banish Africans to inhuman socio-political and economic conditions. A superb novel with a great and relevant storyline.
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Format: Paperback
A modern classic. Sprawling and ambitious, Wizard of the Crow brims with fable and allegory, but never missteps into magical realism. wa Thiong'o's memorable grotesques inhabit a world somewhere between horror and farce, and reflect our own all the better for that.

The intended targets of this astute political satire, from The Ruler to the Global Bank, are obvious. But it is a measure of his accomplishment that they retain the capacity to surprise and intrigue. Passages reminiscent of myth build pace and suspense and the fictional African nation of Aburiria breathes a history that could be, and *is*, that of so many others. There is hope and principle here too in the Movement for the Voice of the People, but it is complex and human, rich and multivalent in a way that elides a great many patronising cliches. Great.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have bought several copies of this book for various people and my own paper back copy disintegrated. Beautifully written and extremely funny look at the legacies of colonialism when mixed with local culture. Decided it was time for a hardback version. It arrived in good condition. Good delivery service
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Format: Paperback
Aburiria is a fictional country in Africa, ruled by The Ruler, a dictator unlike any other. For his birthday, his cabinet has decided to build a huge tower, tall enough to reach the Heaven, funded by loans from the Global Bank. Of course, not every citizen loves the idea, but all dissenting voices are crushed without mercy - if the international bankers get the idea that Aburiria is unstable, they won't loan the money!

Wizard of the Crow is a delicious satire, filled with outrageous characters. The African story-telling tradition is rich and colourful and Ngugi wa Thiong'o isn't saving words. The book is long and full of magic - magical realism is an excellent label for this book. The competing ministers Machokali and Sikiokuu are hilarious in their antics, yet almost painfully real, not to mention all the corrupt, power-hungry and superstitious businessmen, police and politicians.

I believe most people haven't read any books from African authors. If you wish to educate and entertain yourself, reading Wizard of the Crow is an excellent idea. Even though the book is over 700 pages long, I wouldn't have minded if it had been even longer - it was that good. Only the ending was somewhat flat, perhaps, but making a story this epic end in a satisfying way must be really, really hard. (Review based on the Finnish translation.)
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