BOOK DETAILS

Paperback: 784 pages
Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400033845
ISBN-13: 978-1400033843
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.4 x 8.1 inches

WIZARD OF THE CROW

A landmark of postcolonial African literature, Wizard of the Crow is an ambitious, magisterial, comic novel from the acclaimed Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet, and critic.

Set in the fictional Free Republic of Aburiria, Wizard of the Crow dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for the souls of the Aburirian people, between a megalomaniac dictator and an unemployed young man who embraces the mantle of a magician. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, in this magnificent work of magical realism, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o—one of the most widely read African writers—reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity.

REVIEWS

Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o “mounts a nuanced but caustic political and social satire of African corruption of African society with a touch of magical realism – or, perhaps, realistic magic, as the Wizard’s tricks hung on holding a not-so-enchanted mirror to his client’s hidden delusions. The result is a sometimes lurid, sometimes lyrical reflection on Africa’s dysfunctions – and its possibilities.”
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August, 2006

“Magic realism drives this mammoth novel set in the imaginary African country of Aburiria, and exiled Kenyan writer wa Thiong’o roots the wild fantasy in the brutal horror of contemporary politics. His ridicule of the powerful knows no bounds as the novel chronicles greed and corruption in Aburiria and in the West, including the Global Bank’s funding of the Aburirian ruler’s Marching to Heaven Tower of Babel. But even more than the crazy plot of coup, countercoup, flattery, and betrayal, what holds the reader here is the intimate story of one couple. Quiet secretary Nyawira, secret leader of the people’s resistance movement, persuades her intellectual lover, Kamiti, to give up his search for himself in the wild, and they embark on a plan to change the world, with Kamiti disguised as a sorcerer. Set off by the global farce, this unforgettable love story reveals the magic power of the ordinary in people and in politics.”
Hazel Rochman, Booklist

“Ngugi has perfected in Wizard of the Crow an art of radical simplicity, of sharply defined conflicts that, paradoxically, is less reductive than ostensibly more nuanced accounts of Africa proffered by historians and political analysts. At once an epic burlesque of a sick lumbering state and a praise song to the manifold forms of African resistance, the phantasmagoric saga of Aburiria is as clear a view of Africa as we are likely to get for sometime.”
James Gibbons, Bookforum, Summer 2006

“I have every expectation that his new novel, Wizard of the Crow, will be seen in years to come as the equal of Midnight’s Children, The Tin Drum or One Hundred Years of Solitude; a magisterial magic realist account of 20th-century African history. It is unreservedly a masterpiece.”
Stuart Kelley, Scotland on Sunday, August 13, 2006

“In its best scatological moments, it echoes the great Latin American novels of dictatorship by Miguel Angel Asturias, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez…. It now stands as a vivid portrait of postcolonialism and the banality of evil.”
Simon Kigandi, in a review of the Gikuyu original in Foreign Policy

“Ngugi writes with bite on contemporary African themes like corruption and sexual discrimination, but he isn’t caustic or heavy handed. It’s magical realism meets Africa, and it hits the mark.” Florence Williams, Outside, August, 2006

“In his crowded career and 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 …The tale is fantastic and didactic, told in broad strokes . . . its principal actors wear physical distortions like large, firelit masks.”
John Updike, The New Yorker, July 31, 2006

“The pull and promise of Wizard of the Crow … is evident in the labyrinthine wonders of its opening chapters, which involve the authors most raucus and ambitious combination to-date of satire, social realism and supernatural occurrence.”
Randy Boyaganda, Harper’s Magazine, September, 2006

MORE INFO

This book was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.