Born in 1938 in rural Kenya, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o came of age in the shadow of World War II, amidst the terrible bloodshed in the war between the Mau Mau and the British. The son of a man whose four wives bore him more than a score of children, young Ngũgĩ displayed what was then considered a bizarre thirst for learning, yet it was unimaginable that he would grow up to become a world-renowned novelist, playwright, and critic.
In Dreams in a Time of War , Ngũgĩ deftly etches a bygone era, bearing witness to the social and political vicissitudes of life under colonialism and war. Speaking to the human right to dream even in the worst of times, this rich memoir of an African childhood abounds in delicate and powerful subtleties and complexities that are movingly told.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Dreams in a Time of War|
|Release Date: 03-09-2010|
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|Publisher: Pantheon Books|
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Dreams in a Time of War
I had not had lunch that day, and my tummy had forgotten the porridge I had gobbled that morning before the six-mile run to Kinyogori Intermediate School. Now there were the same miles to cross on my way back home; I tried not to look too far ahead to a morsel that night. My mother was pretty good at conjuring up a meal a day, but when one is hungry, it is better to find something, anything, to take one’s mind away from thoughts of food. It was what I often did at lunchtime when other kids took out the food they had brought and those who dwelt in the neighborhood went home to eat during the midday break. I would often pretend that I was going someplace, but really it was to any shade of a tree or cover of a bush, far from the other kids, just to read a book, any book, not that there were many of them, but even class notes were a welcome distraction. That day I read from the abridged version of Dickens’s Oliver Twist. There was a line drawing of Oliver Twist, a bowl in hand, looking up to a towering figure, with the caption “Please sir, can I have some more?” I identified with that question; only for me it was often directed at my mother, my sole benefactor, who always gave more whenever she could.
Listening to stories and anecdotes from the other kids was also a soothing distraction, especially during the walk back home, a lesser ordeal than in t...