cover image In The House of the Interpreter

In The House of the Interpreter

Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Pantheon, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-307-90769-1

Acclaimed Kenyan novelist, poet, playwright, and critic wa Thiong’o recalls the seminal moments of his high school years from 1955 to 1959 during the bloody Mau Mau rebellion against a rigid British colonial regime. The memoir starts on a pleasant, restive tone with young Kenyan schoolboys attending Alliance High School in their school uniforms, but the revolt spills over into the surrounding villages and towns until the British troops begin a scorched earth policy, burning huts and crops to starve out the guerrillas. With his revolutionary brother in the mountains and his brother’s wife in prison, young wa Thiong’o is watched and monitored by authorities, and finally detained in the dark chambers of physical and psychological hell. Alternately youthfully innocent and politically savvy, this is a first-rate telling of that African revolutionary elite who determined the future of their continent. (Nov.)