A Second Thought on Ngugi

June 29, 2008 | 1 book mentioned 1

coverIn light of the epidemic of violence and political repression in Zimbabwe – and South Africa’s African National Congress’s insistence (until much of the damage had been done) that interference from “outsiders” was not welcome – avid fiction readers may want to revisit a sub-Saharan perspective on political misrule: Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow. Writing here a couple years back, I gave the book a mixed review, finding some fault with the breadth of the satire. But, much as magical realism is said to just be called “realism” in Columbia, broad satire starts to seem awfully pointed the more one learns about the tactics of strongmen like Robert Mugabe. Which is to say, Mugabe’s decision to proceed with the election runoff in Zimbabwe borders on farce. As Ngugi shows, these antics can make for rich fiction. In life, of course, they are merely infuriating.

The latest: Mugabe declared winner in Zimbabwe’s one-man election

is the author of City on Fire and A Field Guide to the North American Family. In 2017, he was named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists.

One comment:

  1. Peter Godwin's several memoirs of Zimbabwe (Mukiwa and When a Crocodile Eats the Sun) are worth checking out to confirm that Mugabe is utterly beyond the reach of satire, is simply mad, and deserving of all the scorn that Ngugi is capable of (I know that's a lot).

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