A Grain of Wheat
by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
The best-known novel by the great Kenyan writer -
Set in the wake of the Mau Mau rebellion and on the cusp of Kenya's independence from Britain, "A Grain of Wheat" follows a group of villagers whose lives have been transformed by the 1952-1960 Emergency. At the center of it all is the reticent Mugo, the village's chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret. As we learn of the villagers' tangled histories in a narrative interwoven with myth and peppered with allusions to real-life leaders, including Jomo Kenyatta, a masterly story unfolds in which compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed, and loves are tested.