August 20, 2004 |
When one of the giants of African literature, Ngugi wa Thiongo, returned here to his homeland after 20 years in exile, he kissed the soil, breathed deep the air, listened to the sounds he had missed so dearly. But the theme of his lecture tour, "Reviving the Spirit," was savagely destroyed when thugs armed with guns and a machete burst into the Nairobi apartment where he and his wife, Mary Njeri, were staying, robbed, beat and tortured him and raped her.
November 16, 2012 |
In the House of the Interpreter A Memoir Ngugi wa Thiong'o Pantheon: 256 pp., $25.95 "In the House of the Interpreter," the new memoir by the celebrated African writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o, takes us to the hopeful and turbulent world of 1950s Kenya. And it begins with a startling image. Ngugi is a teenager, returning home from his prestigious boarding school. He's finished his first term at the top of his class and is still wearing his khaki school uniform and blue tie. Carrying his belongings in a wooden box, he reaches the ridge where his village should come into view.
September 24, 2006 |
NGUGI wa Thiong'o inhabits a world of subtle yet ever-present incongruity. In the mellow light of an early September afternoon, seated in the comfortable living room of his house on the campus of the University of California, Irvine, Kenya's most widely lauded writer and his wife, Njeeri wa Ngugi, calmly discussed what it was like to be held at gunpoint by thugs, awaiting death. "We narrowly escaped," Njeeri said. Outside in the driveway, there was a pile of bikes belonging to their kids.
March 7, 2010 |
Kokoro Natsume Soseki, translated from the Japanese by Meredith McKinney Penguin Classics: 238 pp., $15 paper This elegant novel of the Meiji period captures the opening in Japanese Confucian culture and the 250-year-old Tokugawa shogunate to the West and Western culture. It was published in 1914, two years before Natsume Soseki's death. "Kokoro," which means "heart," is the story of a friendship between the young narrator and a wise elder -- "sensei" -- who is like a "great gingko tree," a man full of beauty, love and haunting memories.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 23, 2013 |
JOHNANNESBURG, South Africa - When Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe was in college, a European professor assigned "Mister Johnson," which portrayed Africa as a land of grinning, shrieking savages. Time magazine called it "the best novel ever written about Africa. " Achebe was outraged. He vowed that if someone as ignorant as Joyce Cary, the novel's Anglo-Irish author, could write such a book, "perhaps I ought to try my hand at it. " FOR THE RECORD: Chinua Achebe obituary: In the March 22 Section A, the obituary of Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe referred to writer Ngugi wa Thiongo as a fellow Nigerian.
November 19, 2012 |
You're a writer of a certain age. Perhaps you started a family when you were younger, and now your progeny are old enough that you have time to immerse yourself in that novel or short story you always wanted to write. Or perhaps the muse only came to you at the same time those first few gray hairs popped up on your head. But when you pick up the odd book review or magazine, you are disturbed by the cult of youth that seems to have infected American letters: case in point, the New Yorker's “20 under 40” fiction issue.