The Litblog Co-op Selects …

I’m really glad to announce that the Litblog Co-op’s latest Read This! selection is a book I like a lot, The Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong’o. The first thing you should know about this book is that it’s very funny, and that it reads much faster than its 750-plus page size would suggest. When I first picked it up I considered it doubtful I’d persevere, but an anecdote in the first section (the ruler of an African country locks his complaining wife forever in a sealed house where the clocks still tick but the clock’s hands don’t move) grabbed me and started shaking me around, and it quickly became clear that I wasn’t going to be reading anything else until I found my way to the other end of this book.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o is a deeply political Kenyan writer who was persecuted for years for loudly mocking the greedy dictatorship of tyrant Daniel arap Moi, and it’s the memory of this larger-than-life figure that animates the epic Wizard of the Crow. A team of pranksters — the eponymous crow and his very enterprising lover and partner in crime — shadows, protests and defeats the tyrant’s reign, but the battle between good and evil is a deadlock at best. Like Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 or Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, this book pounds its targets into the ground but gives each character their measure of humanity. I daresay I enjoyed Thiong’o’s book as much as either Heller’s book or Vonnegut’s, and that says a lot. I believe Wizard of the Crow to be a true future classic, and I hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t already.

There will be more discussion of this book (and hopefully an author interview) at the Litblog Co-Op Site in two weeks. We’re also going to be talking about two other nominees, Seven Loves by Valerie Trueblood and Demon Theory by Stephen Graham Jones.

3 Responses

  1. That’s it.Levi, based on this
    That’s it.

    Levi, based on this review, I’m adding this to my list of must reads. Note that my list of must reads is now stacked up like the “new arrivals” in a really good used bookshop, ready to topple over at any minute. And, as I look around my personal library, I note that the unread volumes outnumber the read, and they are all calling out to me. Who can take all this pressure? Hey – they’re books. You read until you die. Balancing the pressure to read, read, read, is the sheer pleasure of opening a book, reading the first couple of pages, and then becoming lost in the story. A book that transports you in time and space to a different reality, or a book that makes crystal clear what you have always suspected. Anyway, I can’t say anymore because I have a book calling me. Coming….

  2. The Wizard of the CrowI’m
    The Wizard of the Crow

    I’m excited to hear about this book, but alas will have to wait for it to come out in paperback and is no longer $30.

  3. I’m with you on this one, Bud
    I’m with you on this one, Bud (you know how I feel about expensive hardcover books).

    On the other hand, if any new novel deserves to come out in hardcover, it might be this one. It feels very epic, and I feel confident that it will be enjoyed by future generations.

    Also, the book has a beautiful cover. Yeah, $30 is a dumb price for a book, but this one book is worth it.

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