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With privatization of Aburiria, and with the NGOs relieving us of social services, the country becomes your real estate. So, yes, Wizard of the Crow is a gently wicked satire on Africa and the West, where the self-interest of individuals completely dominates all decision-making. Essentially all the authority figures and people in power -- including the American doctors -- are only looking out for themselves; the only push for positive change comes from the largely anonymous masses, with Nyawira one of the few characters who are shown being consistently politically and socially active and trying to achieve change.

Kamiti is a more spiritual figure, and though he acts when thrust into the limelight or he can't do otherwise, he seems to prefer to be at a remove from this and most civilisation. Wizard of the Crow doesn't cover some huge expanse of time, not even one particular life-time, and concentrates on a relatively small circle of characters -- but in refraining from too broad a sweep, and its comic approach, the novel is an appealing and no less penetrating look at contemporary Africa.

Wizard of the Crow

There are parts that are too simplistic and obvious, or where Ngugi tries too hard to be didactically correct such as when Kamiti and Nyawira want to have sex for the first time and realise they can't because they don't have a condom , but for the most part this is quite the rollicking adventure.

It's not as obvious as one might expect, either, with the Ruler off-stage in America for much of the novel and the Wizard of the Crow not an ever-growing presence, and while the basic story is fairly simple, Ngugi does offer quite a few very imaginative turns.


  • Review: Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o | Books | The Guardian.
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Wizard of the Crow is also exceptionally generous in spirit, not reveling in the misery of the conditions caused by the local mis-rulers as so many books about similar circumstances do, or pointing fingers at a single cause: Ngugi condemns a great deal in the novel, from everyday greed to Western paternalism, but there's a good deal of optimism throughout, too. There's no single answer, no easy happy end, but there is, always, hope.

Who's behind the ‘dark money’ bankrolling our politics?

Oh, yes, and it's a very funny book, too. Wizard of the Crow isn't the 'Great African Novel', but it is a very good novel about Africa, and one with obvious popular appeal.

A good story well told. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. Contents: Main. Wizard of the Crow - US.


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    Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o | New Humanist

    San Francisco Chronicle. The Scotsman. I requested this book knowing nothing about Ngugi, hoping to expand my literary horizons. I wanted a different style of prose, one that was distinctly non-American, non-European, and non-Eastern. I was also intrigued by the notion of a satirical dystopia written as an epic folk myth. I very much wanted to like this book.

    Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

    To its credit, Wizard of the Crow does deliver on all of these things. The ridiculous political system is juxtaposed against the state of the nation, the spiritually and economically destitute victims of tyranny. Among the countless jobless and impoverished is Kamiti, a man who has some vague preternatural abilities the most explicit are astral projection and turning his soul into a bird.

    After a mix-up at a demonstration, he evades police by leaving a sign outside a house claiming that it is the shrine of the wizard of the crow, and that those who enter are cursed. The trick works too well, and eventually the popularity of the wizard of the crow as a healer and diviner soars.

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    Ngugi flirts substantially with the ridiculous to make his point hit home. Tell us what you think. Please upgrade your browser. See next articles.

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