Aidan Hartley

Life at One Remove

In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir

By

Harvill Secker 240pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is Kenya’s most famous writer. His 1964 debut, Weep Not, Child, was the country’s first published novel. The River Between is on Kenya’s national syllabus. His early books were simple fables but they were good stories. As a boy, I remember Ngũgĩ stood out, together with Chinua Achebe and Meja Mwangi, as the best among the Heinemann African Writers that defined a generation of fiction coming out of the continent after the end of empire. This series, with its distinctive black-and-orange covers, was the only interesting reading material you could find on the half-empty shelves of Nairobi dukas that called themselves bookshops but mostly sold school texts and dust-coated magazines.

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