The River Between

( 1 )

Overview

The River Between explores life on the Makuyu and Kameno ridges of Kenya in the early days of white settlement. Faced with an alluring, new religion and "magical" customs, the Gikuyu people are torn between those who fear the unknown and those who see beyond it. Some follow Joshua and his fiery brand of Christianity. Others proudly pursue tribal independence. In the midst of this disunity stands Waiyaki, a dedicated visionary born to a line of prophets. He struggles to educate the tribe - a task he sees as the ...
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Overview

The River Between explores life on the Makuyu and Kameno ridges of Kenya in the early days of white settlement. Faced with an alluring, new religion and "magical" customs, the Gikuyu people are torn between those who fear the unknown and those who see beyond it. Some follow Joshua and his fiery brand of Christianity. Others proudly pursue tribal independence. In the midst of this disunity stands Waiyaki, a dedicated visionary born to a line of prophets. He struggles to educate the tribe - a task he sees as the only unifying link between the two factions - but his plans for the future raise issues which will determine both his own and the Gikuyu's survival.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

‘It has rare qualities of restraint, intelligence and sensitivity’

The Times Literary Suppliment

‘ A sensitive novel about Gikuyu in the melting pot that sometimes touches the granduer of tap-root simpliticity.’

The Guardian

Sacred Fire
As has been the case for many of his fellow African writers, Kenya-born Ngugi Wa Thiongo has been at various times imprisoned, persecuted, and exiled for his writing and political activism. The River Between was Ngugi's first written, but not his first published, novel (Weep Not Child was published in 1964). It powerfully tells the story of the inevitable conflicts faced by African society as it attempts to reconcile its traditional beliefs with the imperatives of colonialism.

The novel is set in the 1930s and 1940s in rural Kenya and focuses on the conflict between Christian and traditional beliefs. The story is set among the Gikuyu people living on two adjoining ridges, Kameno and Makuyu, which are divided by a river. The people of Kameno follow a land-based religion; the people of Makuyu are led by the Christian convert Joshua. The young and charismatic Waiyaki is sent from Kameno to the mission school to learn the ways of the colonialists so as to resist their claims to the Kameno lands. The conflict centers around the initiation rites of the Gikuyu people. Muthoni, daughter of the cleric Joshua, defies her father's wishes and participates in the ritual. She dies when her wounds fail to heal, and the rift between the two factions becomes irreparable. Politically, the Kiamia, a militant anti-government, anti-Christian movement, continues to agitate successfully. When Waiyaki falls in love with Nyambura, Muthoni's sister and Joshua's daughter, the stage is set for a tragic confrontation.

The River Between is a powerful and gripping retelling of the passing of the African traditional life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780435905484
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 1/11/1990
  • Series: African Writers Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 269,492
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

NGUGI WA THIONG’O is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and essayist from Kenya whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages. He is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. He lives in Irvine, California.

UZODINMA IWEALA is the author of the awardwinning novel Beasts of No Nation and is one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria, and New York City.

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