The publication of East Africa’s most famous writer’s first novel in nearly two decades is inevitably a landmark event in the history of African publishing. Additionally, Ngugi’s Wizard of the Crow is a huge and highly ambitious book, a work that weighs in at more than a quarter of a million words. So, given his talent for incisive social and political commentary, one might expect this doorstopper of a novel to provide some kind of definitive fictional statement on the contemporary Condition of Africa.
Read as such (and perhaps it is unfair to raise too high the burden of expectation), Wizard of the Crow disappoints. It offers a minutely detailed account of the ways in which dictators retain power and of the machinations employed by their ministers to maintain their positions. It