Originally published in 1967, Ngugi’s third novel is his best known and most ambitious work.
A Grain of Wheat portrays several characters in a village whose intertwined lives are transformed by the 1952-1960 Emergency in Kenya.
As the action follows the village’s arrangements for Uhuru (independence) Day, this is a novel of stories within stories, a narrative interwoven with myth as well as allusions to real-life leaders of the nationalist struggle, including Jomo Kenyatta.
At the centre of it all is the reticent Mugo, the village’s chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret.
As events unfold, compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed and loves are tested.