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About the book
  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407085432
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

Dreams in a Time of War




A powerful memoir of an extraordinary Kenyan childhood by an international literary giant

Ngugi wa Thiong'o was born the fifth child of his father's third wife, in a family that included twenty-four children born to four different mothers. He spent his 1930s childhood as the apple of his mother's eye, before attending school to slake what was then considered a bizarre thirst for learning.

As he grows up, the wider political and social changes occurring in Kenya at this time begin to impinge on the boy's life in both inspiring and frightening ways. Through telling the story of his grandparents and parents, and of his brothers' involvement in the violent Mau Mau uprising, Ngugi deftly etches a tumultuous era, capturing the landscape, the people and their culture, and the social and political vicissitudes of life under colonialism and war.

  • Pub date: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407085432
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

About the Author

Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Ngugi wa Thiong’o is one of the leading writers and scholars at work in the world today. His books include the novels Petals of Blood, for which he was imprisoned by the Kenyan government in 1977, A Grain of Wheat and Wizard of the Crow; the memoirs, Dreams in a Time of War, In the House of the Interpreter and Birth of a Dream Weaver; and the essays, Decolonizing the Mind, Something Torn and New and Globalectics. 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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Praise for Dreams in a Time of War

“In his crowded career and his eventful life, Ngugi has enacted, for all to see, the paradigmatic trials and quandaries of a contemporary African writer caught in sometimes implacable political, social, racial, and linguistic currents”

John Updike, The New Yorker

“Delicate, fresh and scrupulously honest...calm and mature”

Spectator

“Moving, honest and informative, this is a book about the influence of stories, storytelling and storytellers. It is a reminder that every generation, however beleaguered, can dream to change the world”

Independent

“The work he offers us here is like nothing that's gone before: it is the chronicle of a child's single-minded pursuit of an education.... The picture of Kenya that he presents is admirably free of cant or sentimentality, and yet it is enough to make you weep”

Washington Post

“Ngugi has returned to his roots to produce something delicate, fresh and scrupulously honest”

Michela Wrong, The Spectator

“The surprise about Dreams in a Time of War is that, for all the provocation of history, and for all its clear-eyed evocation of an agonised time, it is not an angry book ... Ngugi's storyteller's instinct for character and place, for recurring motifs and telling symbols, triumphs over the bleakness of background...this memoir is a tale of triumph”

Mary Crockett, The Scotsman

“Essential reading for the author's many admirers”

Michael Holman, Literary Review

“Ngugi's storytelling skills never falter as he brings this far-away world vividly to life”

Metro

“Absorbing personal reflections that illuminate not just later careers, but the state of their peoples too.”

Boyd Tonkin, Independent, Christmas round up

“One of Kenya's greatest storytellers”

James Urquhart, Financial Times


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