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.