The novel also features flashbacks of the past. Mugo , an introverted villager of Thabai, does not want to give a speech at Uhuru, even though town elders ask him to. He is restless and can achieve no peace in the village. Those planning Uhuru want to honor him. Most people, including General R. They plan on executing him at Uhuru.

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A masterly story of myth, rebellion, love, friendship and betrayal from one of Africa's great writers, Ngugi wa Thiong'o's A Grain of Wheat includes an introduction by Abdulrazak Gurnah, author of By the Sea , in Penguin Modern Classics. It is and Kenya is on the verge of Uhuru - Independence Day. The mighty british government has been toppled, and in the lull between the fighting and the new world, colonized and colonizer alike reflect on what they have gained and lost.

In the village of Thabai, the men and women who live there have been transformed irrevocably by the uprising. Kihika, legendary rebel leader, was fatally betrayed to the whiteman.

Gikonyo's marriage to the beautiful Mumbi was destroyed when he was imprisoned, while her life has been shattered in other ways. And Mugo, brave survivor of the camps and now a village hero, harbours a terrible secret.

As events unfold, compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed and loves are tested. Ngugi was chair of the Department of Literature at the University of Nairobi from to He left Kenya in and taught at various universities in the United States before he became professor of comparative literature and performance studies at New York University in Recipient of many honours, among them ten honorary doctorates, he is currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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A Grain of Wheat Summary

In the village of Thabai, a man named Mugo desires to live a solitary life now that he has been released from the detention camps. The Movement seems pervasive throughout rural Kenya. Although no one is sure exactly when or how it began, it is generally assumed that it formed shortly after the first white missionaries arrived from England, who slowly and deceitfully gathered power and land for themselves before making way for British soldiers and administrators. Mugo has only had one interaction with the Movement, at a meeting where he heard Kihika , the revolutionary leader, speak as a young man. Representatives from the Party and prominent members of the village—a shopkeeper named Gikonyo , and two village elders who devoted their entire lives to the Movement, Warui and Wambui —ask Mugo to lead their independence celebration in a few days and become a village Chief, since everyone knows that Mugo helped Kihika hide from the colonial soldiers after he assassinated a colonial District Officer. Koina , have discovered that Kihika was betrayed to his death, and hope to reveal the culprit during the independence celebration and bring the traitor to justice. Mugo is torn by this, since it was actually he himself who betrayed Kihika, though no one in the village knows his crime.


A Grain of Wheat

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Barack Obama, via Facebook "A compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships. At the center of it all is the reticent Mugo, the village's chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret. As we learn of the villagers' tangled histories in a narrative interwoven with myth and peppered with allusions to real-life leaders, including Jomo Kenyatta, a masterly story unfolds in which compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed, and loves are tested.


It was written while he was studying at Leeds University [1] and first published in by Heinemann. The title is taken from the Gospel According to St. John, The novel weaves together several stories set during the state of emergency in Kenya's struggle for independence —59 , focusing on the quiet Mugo, whose life is ruled by a dark secret. The plot revolves around his home village's preparations for Kenya's independence day celebration, Uhuru day. On that day, former resistance fighters General R and Koinandu plan on publicly executing the traitor who betrayed Kihika a heroic resistance fighter hailing from the village. The novel also features flashbacks of the past.

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