Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir


Product Details

$25.99  $23.91
New Press
Publish Date
5.8 X 1.1 X 8.4 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

One of the leading African writers and scholars at work today, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o was born in Limuru, Kenya, in 1938. He is the author of A Grain of Wheat; Weep Not, Child; Petals of Blood; and Birth of a Dream Weaver. He is currently distinguished professor in the School of Humanities and the director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine. He has been nominated for the Man Booker International Prize.


Praise for Wrestling with the Devil
A New York Times Editors' Choice

"This thrilling testament to the human spirit had, for me, a fierce resonance. . . . I could not help feeling that his luminous words were meant for those victims and many others being persecuted across the world, a way of urging humanity to never surrender to the demons of fear and silence."
--Ariel Dorfman, The New York Times Book Review

"Wrestling with the Devil is a powerful testament to the courage of Ngũgĩ and his fellow prisoners and validation of the hope that an independent Kenya would eventually emerge."
--Minneapolis Star Tribune

★ "[A] masterly work. . . . Through this incredibly vivid account, one can learn much about Kenyan colonial and postcolonial history. For all readers who want to understand better issues of injustice."
--Library Journal (starred review)

"With elegant prose and compelling arguments, this is highly recommended."

"Engrossing ... At once exhilarating and defiant, [Ngũgĩ] wa Thiong'o's memoir is a thought provoking document of a grim time in Kenyan history."
--Publishers Weekly

"The Ngũgĩ of Wrestling with the Devil called not just for adding a bit of color to the canon's sagging shelf, but for abolition and upheaval."

"Long after the Kenyatta tyranny, the author refocuses the narrative so that it is less about the specifics of abuses suffered under that regime and more about sustaining the spirit of resistance while subjected to years of incarceration. . . . Four decades after the imprisonment detailed here, the issues remain fresh."
--Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's Birth of a Dream Weaver
One of Oprah.com's "17 Must-Read Books for the New Year" and O Magazine's "10 Titles to Pick up Now."

"Exquisite in its honesty and truth and resilience, and a necessary chronicle from one of the greatest writers of our time. "
--Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Guardian, Best Books of 2016.

"It's hard to think of another living writer today--Orhan Pamuk, perhaps--who speaks so inspiringly and convincingly about the value of literature. No serious reader will want to miss this riveting story."
--The Washington Post

"An eloquent, perceptive memoir. . . Evocative, poignant, and thoughtful, Thiong'o's courageous narrative will linger in readers' minds."
--Publishers Weekly (starred)

"A writer's coming-of-age tale featuring an artistic mix of pride and humility."
--Kirkus Reviews

"An autobiographical masterpiece. . . As essential as Achebe's There Was a Country, this is a riveting read in African history and literature."
--Library Journal (starred)

"This is a powerful recollection of a turbulent time that produced leaders from Tom Mboya and Jomo Kenyatta to the tyrannical Idi Amin in response to the brutality of a dying colonialism."

Praise for Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's work:
"Evocative, poignant, and thoughtful, Thiong'o's courageous narrative will linger in readers' minds."
--Publishers Weekly (starred)

"In his crowded career and his eventful life, Ngũgĩ has enacted, for all to see, the paradigmatic trials and quandaries of a contemporary African writer, caught in sometimes implacable political, social, racial, and linguistic currents."
--John Updike, The New Yorker

"Ngũgĩ has dedicated his life to describing, satirising and destabilising the corridors of power. . . . Still living in exile and writing primarily in Gikuyu, Ngũgĩ continues to spin captivating tales."
--The Guardian

"Ngũgĩ has flown over the entire African continent and sniffed out all of the foul stenches rising high into the air: complacency toward despotism, repression of women and ethnic minorities, widespread corruption and--undergirding all of these--a neocolonial system in which today's lending banks and multinationals have supplanted yesterday's European overlords."
--The New York Times Book Review