In the House of the Interpreter: Book summary and reviews of In the House of the Interpreter by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o

In the House of the Interpreter

By Ngugi Wa Thiong'o

In the House of the Interpreter
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2012,
    272 pages.

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Book Summary

Ngugi wa Thiong'o is a writer who has lived through extraordinary times. In the House of the Interpreter tells the story of his schooldays in Kenya against the backdrop of the intensification of the struggle for independence.

During the early fifties, Kenya was a country in turmoil. While Ngugi enjoys scouting trips, chess tournaments and reading about Biggles at the prestigious Alliance School near Nairobi, things are changing at home. He arrives back for his first visit since starting school to find his house razed to the ground and the entire village moved up the road closer to a guard checkpoint.

Later, his brother, Good Wallace, who fights for the rebels, is captured by the British and taken to a concentration camp. Finally, Ngugi himself comes into conflict with the forces of colonialism when he is victimized by a police officer on a bus journey and thrown in prison for six days. This fascinating memoir charts the development of a significant voice in international literature, as well as standing as a record of the struggles of a nation to free itself.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Alternately youthfully innocent and politically savvy, this is a first-rate telling of that African revolutionary elite who determined the future of their continent." - Publishers Weekly

Kenyan writer and professor wa Thiong'o (English and Comparative Literature/Univ. of California, Irvine) offers a second harrowing volume of memoir, a sequel to his Dreams in a Time of War (2010)...An inspiring story of a young man determined to excel and escape." - Kirkus

"The personal detail dramatizes the farce of the colonial land grab and of Christianity as liberation of the natives." - Booklist

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Author Information

Ngugi Wa Thiong'o Author Biography

Photo © Courtesy of the author

Ngugi wa Thiong'o, currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, was born in Kenya, in 1938 into a large peasant family. He was educated at Kamandura, Manguu and Kinyogori primary schools; Alliance High School, all in Kenya; Makerere University College (then a campus of London University), Kampala, Uganda; and the University of Leeds, Britain. He is recipient of seven Honorary Doctorates viz D Litt (Albright); PhD (Roskilde); D Litt (Leeds); D Litt &Ph D (Walter Sisulu University); PhD (Carlstate); D Litt (Dillard) and D Litt (Auckland University). He is also Honorary Member of American Academy of Letters. A many-sided intellectual, he is a novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist.

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Name Pronunciation
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o: GU-gi wa-ti-ONG-go

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