From the exiled Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet and literary critic Ngugl wa Thiong'o comes "Wizard of the Crow" (Pantheon, $30), a magisterial comic novel that is certain to take its place as a landmark of postcolonial African literature.
In exile now for more than 20 years, Ngugl wa Thiong'o has become one of the most widely read African writers of our time. The power and scope of his work have garnered him international attention and praise. His aim in "Wizard of the Crow" is, in his own words, nothing less than "to sum up Africa of the 20th century in the context of 2,000 years of world history."
Commencing in "our times" and set in the "Free Republic of Aburlria," the novel dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburlrian people.
Among the contenders: His High Mighty Excellency, the eponymous Wizard, an avatar of folklore and wisdom; the corrupt Christian Ministry; and the nefarious Global Bank. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, Wizard of the Crow reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity.
Informed by richly enigmatic traditional African storytelling, "Wizard of the Crow" is the crowning achievement in Ngugl wa Thiong'o's career thus far.