I have always wanted to read this book. Not that I heard much about it, rather I heard much about its author. I don’t remember when exactly I encountered the name Binyavang’a, but I recall just always hearing about him. Its like after Ngugi in Kenya came Binyavang’a. That’s why I wanted to read his works.
Well, I think he writes short stories more often. And I’ve read some of his articles. And they are quite unique. His style of writing shall is unique. Some say he breaks the rules of English eloquently. I hear there is a whole essay he wrote that didn’t have a full stop( or was it one only?)…to say the least, this man has always intrigued me.
So it was with much delight that I started reading this book. And true to the reports out there, he writes not in the normal way. There is something unique about his flow of work. It took me a chapter or two to get used to it. But once you get it, the book flows.
I think I could relate with this book on a personal level. Wainaina lives in his mind. You can tell that from the time you read the first page. And I can relate to that. In most times, people who live in their minds are regarded as being aloof and people think something is wrong somewhere. So to see him make a beautiful work out of his life was quite encouraging.
On history. I’ve been able to learn more about Kenya’s recent political history from this book. I didn’t expect that. You see, most common Kenyan books talk of Moi’s era and Kenyatta’s era, rarely do we see a mixture of that and Kibaki’s era. So it was a pleasant surprise to be moved from Moi to Kibaki to the promulgation of the new constitution.
Its a beautiful work. With memoirs you move with the pace and tone and rules of the author. After all, this a person opening up their world to you freely. Which is why I couldn’t read it in one sitting. This book demanded my attention. It demanded to be let it and pondered over before ingesting more. Yet I couldn’t stay for too long away from it. It kept calling me.
Generally- I would say this has been a beautiful piece. The Kenyan kind of beauty.