Author: Ngugi Wa Thiong’O
Title: In The House of the House of the Interpreter, 2012, http://www.amazon.com/House-Interpreter-Memoir-Ngugi-waThiongo/dp/0307907694/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362880340&sr=1-1&keywords=in+the+house+of+the+interpreter
***Fascinating note: Ngugi Wa Thiong’O is known as a writer and devotee of human rights. The educator and humanist paid a hefty price for his beliefs in prison and in exile. Still, Professor Wa Thiong’O remains most beloved as a professor of African literature and Kenyan linguistics. Throughout all of his struggles, Professor Wa Thiong’O is still echoing his hope for a fully democratic Africa.
Comfort level: Easy, smooth flowing
Synopsis: Ngugi Wa Thiong’O has written a book that chronicles the life and times of a young Kenyan’s journey to manhood. Within the journey, the boy witnesses the end of colonialism and the commencement of neo colonialism. The reader is privy to the struggles and triumphs of an African Horatio Alger. Kenya is at the brink of change. The Mau Mau Uprising banishes any remnants of innocence that remained within the country. There is a war within a war, the reader learns. The battle for most can be reduced to one for mere survival. Wa Thiong’O holds fast to his dreams and hopes for a better education. Readers share his ascent to a better school, a better forum for his intelligence, and his emergence into a fully academic arena. But, the reader also learns that there is a price for his achievements. During the course of the Wa Thiong’O journey, he loses contact with his family at times. Family members shield him from tragic news and he feels isolated during the rare times that he can return home. Still, our hero is not alone. He befriends many young males that become leaders in later years. Each boy makes connections and associations that stretch into the decades of darkness that engulf their homeland. In The House of the Interpreter (2012) lends itself to decoding the issues that have stunted the growth of Kenya and Africa as full democracies.
Critique: Ngugi Wa Thiong’O is a gifted interpreter of many things. His work Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986) stands as a primer for understanding the imposition of foreign linguistics upon African literacy. The novels of Wa Thiong’O have are celebrated around the world. This new book, In The House of the Interpreter (2012), is a memoir that decodes the route to education and freedom in postmodern Kenya. The author forces you to realize uncomfortable truths. Kenya is in trouble. People that voice opposition are removed from the public. Yet, there are universals that must be identified and noted. Education, ethics, and scholarship still thrive under adverse conditions…even in Kenya. The world must note and identify those which would subvert education, ethics, and scholarship. School is the author’s refuge from the chaos that surrounds him. The author is our refuge from the Western illusion that surrounds us. I recommend this book to all. My only reservation is that this book was released to the public at the time that Chinua Achebe’s There Was a Country (2012) was released. Achebe’s works overshadow all.