Petals of Blood

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Good Petals of Blood Author Ng g wa Thiong o Moses Isegawa are Books Kenyan teacher noveli

Good Petals of Blood Author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o Moses Isegawa are Books Kenyan teacher, novelist, essayist, and playwright, whose works function as an important link between the pioneers of African writing and the younger generation of postcolonial writers After imprisonment in 1978, Ng g abandoned using English as the primary language of his work in favor of Gikuyu, his native tongue The transition from colonialism to postcoloniality and the crisis of modernity has been a central issues in a great deal of Ng g s writings Ng g wa Thiong o was born in Kamiriithu, near Limuru, Kiambu District, as the fifth child of the third of his father s four wives At that time Kenya was under British rule, which ended in 1963 Ng g s family belonged to the Kenya s largest ethnic group, the Gikuyu His father, Thiong o wa Nducu, was a peasant farmer, who was forced to become a squatter after the British Imperial Act of 1915 Ng g attended the mission run school at Kamaandura in Limuru, Karinga school in Maanguu, and Alliance High School in Kikuyu During these years Ng g became a devout Christian However, at school he also learned about the Gikuyu values and history and underwent the Gikuyu rite of passage ceremony Later he rejected Christianity, and changed his original name in 1976 from James Ng g , which he saw as a sign of colonialism, to Ng g wa Thiong o in honor of his Gikuyu heritage After receiving a B.A in English at Makerere University College in Kampala Uganda in 1963, Ng g worked briefly as a journalist in Nairobi He married in 1961 Over the next seventeen years his wife, Nyambura, gave birth to six children In 1962 Ng g s play THE BLACK HERMIT was produced in Kampala In 1964 he left for England to pursue graduate studies at the Leeds University in England.The most prominent theme in Ng g s early work was the conflict between the individual and the community As a novelist Ng g made his debut with WEEP NOT, CHILD 1964 , which he started to write while he was at school in England It was the first novel in English to be published by an East African author Ng g used the Bildungsroman form to tell the story of a young man, Njoroge He loses his opportunity for further education when he is caught between idealistic dreams and the violent reality of the colonial exploitation THE RIVER BETWEEN 1965 had as its background the Mau Mau Rebellion 1952 1956 The story was set in the late 1920s and 1930s and depicted an unhappy love affair in a rural community divided between Christian converts and non Christians A GRAIN OF WHEAT 1967 marked Ng g s break with cultural nationalism and his embracing of Fanonist Marxism Ng g refers in the title to the biblical theme of self sacrifice, a part of the new birth unless a grain of wheat die The allegorical story of one man s mistaken heroism and a search for the betrayer of a Mau Mau leader is set in a village, which has been destroyed in the war The author s family was involved in the Mau Mau uprising Ng g s older brother had joined the movement, his stepbrother was killed, and his mother was arrested and tortured Ng g s village suffered in a campaign.In the 1960s Ng g was a reporter for the Nairobi Daily Nation and editor of Zuka from 1965 to 1970 He worked as a lecturer at several universities at the University College in Nairobi 1967 69 , at the Makerere University in Kampala 1969 70 , and at the Northwestern University in Evanston in the United States 1970 71 Ng g had resigned from his post at Nairobi University as a protest against government interference in the university, be he joined the faculty in 1973, becoming an associate professor and chairman of the department of literature It had been formed in response to his and his colleagues criticism of English the British government had made in the 1950s instruction in English mandatory Ng g had asked in an article, written with Taban lo Liyong and Henry Owuor Anyumba, If there is need for a s. The puzzling murder of three African directors of a foreign owned brewery sets the scene for this fervent, hard hitting novel about disillusionment in independent Kenya A deceptively simple tale, Petals of Blood is on the surface a suspenseful investigation of a spectacular triple murder in upcountry Kenya Yet as the intertwined stories of the four suspects unfold, a devThe puzzling murder of three African directors of a foreign owned brewery sets the scene for this fervent, hard hitting novel about disillusionment in independent Kenya A deceptively simple tale, Petals of Blood is on the surface a suspenseful investigation of a spectacular triple murder in upcountry Kenya Yet as the intertwined stories of the four suspects unfold, a devastating picture emerges of a modern third world nation whose frustrated people feel their leaders have failed them time after time First published in 1977, this novel was so explosive that its author was imprisoned without charges by the Kenyan government His incarceration was so shocking that newspapers around the world called attention to the case, and protests were raised by human rights groups, scholars, and writers, including James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Donald Barthelme, Harold Pinter, and Margaret Drabble.First time in Penguin Classics. Good Books Petals of Blood I once gave up on the ambitious narrative sprawl of Wizard of the Crow, only to find my mind and body buried within the passionate scribble of these Petals of Blood,A flower with petals of blood. It was a solitary red beanflower in a field dominated by white, blue, and violet flowers. No matter how you looked at it, it gave you the impression of a flow of blood.To find oneself lost within an arresting read of love, sex, betrayal, oppression, censorship, and economic strife, while also courted by narrative strength of style, voice and reflection, is a reason to love a piece of art. But to find oneself lost in the beautiful tragedy of 1960 Eastern Africa, to traverse the mire and loveliness of the peasant landscape of “a forgotten village,” to endure the stench of strife, feel the warm rush of Theng’eta, and yet become enthralled by endurance, is to find oneself forever inspired by a piece of art. Putting aside the somewhat frustrating use of the ellipsis, this novel employs an unusual rotation of one-paragraph pages and one-word sentences; fragmented thought and elegant phraseology—its style and story are contradictions that parallel the confusion of a newly formed democracy. Wanja is a tortured soul like Cynthia Bond’s Ruby; like Enchi’s Suga, she is at first economically powerless and the men she comes across only want to ‘possess’ her; like Kawabata’s Komako, she feels hopeless, as if prostitution has defined her; but unlike these characters, she is also an empowered entrepreneur and seductress. She is fascinating, even when her mindset is a bit discomfiting. Three men—Abdulla, Munira, and Karega—are linked to this poised prostitute, a victim who chooses to use rather than be used again, and each man like her, has escaped a past. Soon, they learn how their pasts are linked. Like his post-colonial peers Soyinka and Achebe, wa Thiong’o was arrested in 1977 by the Kenyan government when this novel was first published. Not surprisingly, it was similarly minded American writers like Baldwin and Morrison who were strong protesters of his arrest. The true lesson of history was this: that the so-called victims, the poor, the downtrodden, the masses, had always struggled with spears and arrows, with their hands and songs of courage and hope, to end their oppression and exploitation: that they would continue struggling until a human kingdom came: a world in which goodness and beauty and strength and courage would be seen not in how cunning one can be, not in how much power to oppress one possessed, but only in one’s contribution in creating a more humane world… What can I say; I have too many highlighted passages, too many thoughts, all too jumbled within this distracted brain that I can’t give coherent justice to this great novel. What I do know is that it stands apart in my collection of noteworthy postcolonial African novels.
Petals of Blood wa Thiong o Feb , Petals of Blood is a jarring and unsettling portrayal of life in post colonial Kenya Its publication was so controversial that the government arrested and imprisoned the author, Ngugi wa Thion o, without any charges As a novel, it stands as one of Ngugi s most political and complex books. Petals of Blood by Ng g wa Thiong o A flower with petals of blood It was a solitary red beanflower in a field dominated by white, blue, and violet flowers No matter how you looked at it, it gave you the impression of a flow of blood To find oneself lost within an arresting read of love, sex, betrayal, oppression, censorship, and economic strife, while also courted by Petals of Blood Summary eNotes Petals of Blood is a novel of social and political criticism cast in the form of a crime story Three directors of the local brewery in Ilmorog have died as a result of a fire. Petals of Blood by Ngugi wa Thiong o About Petals of Blood The definitive African book of the twentieth century Moses Isegawa, from the Introduction by the Nobel Prize nominated Kenyan writer The puzzling murder of three African directors of a foreign owned brewery sets the scene for this fervent, hard hitting novel about disillusionment in independent Kenya. Petals of Blood Summary SuperSummary Set in the aftermath of Kenyan independence, revered Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong o s novel Petals of Blood follows schoolteachers Munira and Karega, and barmaid Wanja and her boss, Abdulla, as they cope with the rapid modernization of their rural village, Ilmorog. Petals of Blood Background GradeSaver Petals of Blood is a novel by Ngugi wa Thiong o set in post independence Kenya The story centers around four characters whose lives are drastically changed as a result of the rebellion, and must learn how to adapt and survive in a rapidly Westernizing environment. Petals of Blood Introduction Overview Petals of Blood is the fourth novel written by Ngugi wa Thiong o, who is commonly known simply as Ngugi The novel describes the inequality, hypocrisy, and betrayal of peasants and workers in post independence Kenya As with Ngugi s other works, many of the events depicted in the novel have their basis in historical and social fact. PETALS OF BLOOD Ngugi wa Thiong o Petals of Blood The puzzling murder of three African directors of a foreign owned brewery sets the scene for this fervent, hard hitting novel about disillusionment in independent Kenya A deceptively simple tale, Petals of Blood is on the surface a suspenseful investigation of a spectacular triple murder in upcountry Kenya. Petals of Blood Study Guide Analysis GradeSaver Essays for Petals of Blood Petals of Blood essays are academic essays for citation These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Petals of Blood by Ngugi wa Thiong o The European and African Narrative Techniques used in Things Fall Apart and Petals of Blood

About Author

  • Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o Moses Isegawa Post author

    Kenyan teacher, novelist, essayist, and playwright, whose works function as an important link between the pioneers of African writing and the younger generation of postcolonial writers After imprisonment in 1978, Ng g abandoned using English as the primary language of his work in favor of Gikuyu, his native tongue The transition from colonialism to postcoloniality and the crisis of modernity has been a central issues in a great deal of Ng g s writings Ng g wa Thiong o was born in Kamiriithu, near Limuru, Kiambu District, as the fifth child of the third of his father s four wives At that time Kenya was under British rule, which ended in 1963 Ng g s family belonged to the Kenya s largest ethnic group, the Gikuyu His father, Thiong o wa Nducu, was a peasant farmer, who was forced to become a squatter after the British Imperial Act of 1915 Ng g attended the mission run school at Kamaandura in Limuru, Karinga school in Maanguu, and Alliance High School in Kikuyu During these years Ng g became a devout Christian However, at school he also learned about the Gikuyu values and history and underwent the Gikuyu rite of passage ceremony Later he rejected Christianity, and changed his original name in 1976 from James Ng g , which he saw as a sign of colonialism, to Ng g wa Thiong o in honor of his Gikuyu heritage After receiving a B.A in English at Makerere University College in Kampala Uganda in 1963, Ng g worked briefly as a journalist in Nairobi He married in 1961 Over the next seventeen years his wife, Nyambura, gave birth to six children In 1962 Ng g s play THE BLACK HERMIT was produced in Kampala In 1964 he left for England to pursue graduate studies at the Leeds University in England.The most prominent theme in Ng g s early work was the conflict between the individual and the community As a novelist Ng g made his debut with WEEP NOT, CHILD 1964 , which he started to write while he was at school in England It was the first novel in English to be published by an East African author Ng g used the Bildungsroman form to tell the story of a young man, Njoroge He loses his opportunity for further education when he is caught between idealistic dreams and the violent reality of the colonial exploitation THE RIVER BETWEEN 1965 had as its background the Mau Mau Rebellion 1952 1956 The story was set in the late 1920s and 1930s and depicted an unhappy love affair in a rural community divided between Christian converts and non Christians A GRAIN OF WHEAT 1967 marked Ng g s break with cultural nationalism and his embracing of Fanonist Marxism Ng g refers in the title to the biblical theme of self sacrifice, a part of the new birth unless a grain of wheat die The allegorical story of one man s mistaken heroism and a search for the betrayer of a Mau Mau leader is set in a village, which has been destroyed in the war The author s family was involved in the Mau Mau uprising Ng g s older brother had joined the movement, his stepbrother was killed, and his mother was arrested and tortured Ng g s village suffered in a campaign.In the 1960s Ng g was a reporter for the Nairobi Daily Nation and editor of Zuka from 1965 to 1970 He worked as a lecturer at several universities at the University College in Nairobi 1967 69 , at the Makerere University in Kampala 1969 70 , and at the Northwestern University in Evanston in the United States 1970 71 Ng g had resigned from his post at Nairobi University as a protest against government interference in the university, be he joined the faculty in 1973, becoming an associate professor and chairman of the department of literature It had been formed in response to his and his colleagues criticism of English the British government had made in the 1950s instruction in English mandatory Ng g had asked in an article, written with Taban lo Liyong and Henry Owuor Anyumba, If there is need for a s

One thought on “Petals of Blood

  • I once gave up on the ambitious narrative sprawl of Wizard of the Crow, only to find my mind and body buried within the passionate scribble of these Petals of Blood,A flower with petals of blood It was a solitary red beanflower in a field dominated by white, blue, and violet flowers No matter how you looked at it, it gave you the impression of a flow of blood.To find oneself lost within an arresting read of love, sex, betrayal, oppression, censorship, and economic strife, while also courted by n [...]


  • This is the first book I have read by Ng g wa Thiong o, and I was swept away by it Written in 1977, Petals of Blood recreates many of the tensions in Kenya at the time Although the book is anchored by investigation into the murder of three highly placed Kenyan officials, it is at heart a sweeping exploration of the tensions tearing apart Kenyan society misplaced quest for wealth, modernity, and power the continued stranglehold of Western imperialism on Kenyan society the questions of the respons [...]


  • Reading literature that is not written for your eyes is hard as a white man So many of the narratives that I have encountered in my life, from books to movies to advertising to cultural mythologies, have been developed for me to eat up and enjoy with remarkable ease It is quite easy for me to make it through the day without encountering much that challenges these narratives And, even as a gay man, it is easy for me to discover just enough culture through the internet in daily doses of glitter be [...]


  • Petals of Blood comes up in discussions about the most important African novels of the 20th century Ng g wa Thiong o pronunciation if you want to pick one name, Ng g is correct was a disciple of Chinua Achebe s, until they had a violent falling out over philosophy Ng g decided to stop writing in English, switching to his native Kenyan language of Gikuyu African language for African people Achebe had a broader audience in mind 1977 s Petals of Blood was Ng g s final English work.It s a deep and i [...]


  • At the outset it is a murder fiction The plot unravels with an ongoing investigation of the triple murder of three socially eminent men Kimeria , Chui and Mzigo The investigation leads us to a journey into the past the past of not just the prime accused Karera and Munira but also the victims Kimeria , Chui , Mzigo and the past of Africa itself Set in nascent Kenya the novel is a pungent criticism of the erstwhile European imperialism and its cankerous impact on the African nation It is also a st [...]


  • A very symbolic, yet simultaneously open critique of colonialism and the system it set in place in Kenya It clearly outlines the path of exploitation and corruption that has so defined Kenyan politics This is a must read for anyone coming to visit Kenya or interested in African culture and literature It is no surprise this book was so contentious and that Ngugi was later jailed


  • The most telling thing I can say about this book is that I was within 20 pages of the end and I was hungry so I got up to make myself a sandwich, and didn t finish the book until later that night.The pace of this book is slow It has about 4 climaxes It never really drew me in But it has some great moments, and some interesting lessons I see the four main characters as symbols of the four post colonial African peasant archetypes The prostitute, the merchant beggar, the socialist revolutionary, an [...]


  • The dedication at the start of this book reads To The Soviet Writers Union for giving me the use of their house in Yalta in order to finish the writing of this novel and the writer Ngugi was imprisoned for a year in the 70 s for his writing so you know as you start the book that this is not going to be an ordinary murder mystery In fact that is the starting premise as four individuals are arrested in the mid 70 s for the murder by arson of three high ranking wealthy industrialists capitalists Th [...]


  • I expect he ll get the Nobel Prize sooner or later In this book, what starts and ends as a murder mystery becomes a profound look at what happened to Kenya post independence, and to Kenyan people This is not an easy read for people expecting a quick mystery with stereotypic characters, but by the time your done, you ll have insight into complex characters not of our culture and what shaped them Best book I ve read in several years, even though it took me a while to get into it largely because it [...]


  • This is one of the first Ngugi books I read and I have to admit I enjoyed his earlier work about the Mau Mau rebellion as I was reading it However, looking back I see the brilliance of Petals of Blood This work takes incredible courage I was visiting Kenya when he first came back after decades of exile and he was attacked by thugs To take on the corrupt post independence regime and not just create a mythology about the heroes of independence is what makes Ngugi a master I wish an American write [...]


  • Think of it as Grapes of Wrath set in Kenya It s a highly political novel, chastising imperialism, capitalism, and corruption in Kenya, written by an author with Marxist leanings Nevertheless, the interweaving of four people s stories leaves room for different perspectives, and the novel never descends to the level of a manifesto I couldn t stop comparing Petals of Blood to Grapes of Wrath though, and I must plainly say that Steinbeck, taking time to unfold a narrower story, delivers peasants p [...]


  • Masterpiece He shows the slow encroachment of a whole range of forces from capitalism to modernity post independence in Kenya and does it while implicitly critiquing almost every ideological position that can be taken in such a context.




  • Ngugi s writing commands attention This book was published in 1977 but the story was written within seven years pre publication set in an imaginary town of Ilmorog along the Trans Africa highway The story revolves around four main characters Munira, Abdulla, Karega, and Wanja all of whom meet in Ilmorog, and find themselves caught up in the failed promises of post independence in Kenya Munira is a teacher who is posted to the school and struggles to get the basics including keeping the pupils in [...]


  • It s funny, from reading the Acknowledgments I knew what I was in for when I read his thanks to The Soviet Writers Union for giving me the use of their house in Yalta in order to finish the writing of this novel Written in 1977, this was a time when Communism was where it was at, right So I figured that this would be a revolutionary anti capitalist post colonialist Kenya read And it was I didn t enjoy it as much as Wizard of the Crow, which I really loved and would recommend highly, and than th [...]


  • This book was on my shelf for a long time, one of those should reads that I wasn t very inspired to pick up Finally, I had nothing else at home to read, and I picked it up It still felt like a should read in the beginning, and I found the novel slow going, only reading a few pages a night I couldn t relate to the characters, who seemed to just be wandering around in the story which didn t seem to be going anywhere Then, at the very end of part one, when the community of Ilmorog decides to journe [...]


  • The plot goes nowhere after the initial murder mystery dissolves into a sparsely conceived framing device, dislocated in both time and attention by the agonizingly slow progression of the main narrative, itself enacted via extended flashback The characters are abstract and lifeless, and the novel s sociopolitical impetus, though admirable and understandable, impede the development of anything of interest The prose is generally flavourless, if technically sound, but the descriptions of a Kenya st [...]


  • A screed against post colonial indigenous capitalism in Kenya tucked into a character driven story about personal relationships to power and history Memory, passion, and perspective bias everyone so the story barely tells itself but instead is formed from the impressions of those living it Ngugi is one of the great anti imperialist writers and also a great novelist This book allows the author a few moments of utopian soapboxing and revolutionary memorializing, but mostly he buries the politics u [...]


  • I m not surprised the book is a classic and now I understand I was engrossed by the story from start to finish There is obviously a main character in the book like in others but novel is about socio and political challenges in post independence Kenya the main protagonist here is the people and government But I bet all Africans who lived post independence in their own countries will find resonance.I have also learnt that after the publication of the book in late 70 s and plays that were subseque [...]


  • 3.5 4 A book laden with mysteries of the past which need discovering, and several different social aspects which emerged in independent Kenya The reader explores the primarily rural old Ilmorog as it progresses and develops, and watches how people either eat or are eaten.Rather slow at times but everything fits neatly together in the end, so that the author s message is delivered effectively to the reader While the African words, phrases and songs put the reader in the right Kenyan atmosphere, h [...]


  • This book really touched my heart Ngugi wa Thiong O truly understands Kenya s Neo colonism era and depicts the reality of ordinary Kenyan people s life during that period Further, he also mentions the legacy of the British colonialism as well as the difficulties and consequences of modernization Overall, the hardships that ordinary Kenyan people went through in creating New Kenya were mentioned throughout the book It shattered my old conception of Lion King Kenya and allowed me to see the realit [...]


  • This is a disturbing novel with substantial violence in Kenya, and deals with issues of brutal neo colonization Not for the faint hearted Not exactly an easy, thrilling book A moderately difficult read, because it has numerous underlying themes, interrogating Western values and our own notions of civilization and law enforcement.


  • Very interesting riveting in places, but my eyes glazed over in other places If a book combines a socio political message with a fiction plot, I prefer the fiction plot to be straightforward, otherwise it can turn out like this one, with too many flashbacks to too many different events Perhaps just not the right book at the right time.



  • Not often do I have to read a book twice in order to attempt to formulate an idea of what I want to talk about Usually, as I read I think of the topics or themes in the novel that most interest me, and by the time I get around to writing this blog, I have a fairly coherent outline of what I want to explore But I found a new kind of obstacle in Africa, specifically Kenya, and its literature It s nothing than the fact that Kenya baffled me, both in Ngugi wa Thiong o s Petals of Blood and in my ac [...]


  • This book isn t necessarily about Kenya, it can be set in most post colonial countries in Asia and Africa The story is about the struggle against the European colonial power, and after achieving that success, things going sour The Europeans are physically gone but they still control Kenya through other means money, power, the world economic system that they have created It s different kind of colonialism.The book is set in small town that is losing its young to bigger cities The town is at the m [...]


  • Literary pundits and Ngugi fans, please don t thirst for my blood or send goons to finish me off I m sorry to say that I m finding Ngugi books kind of a drag for me This is the second book of Ngugi I am not finishing in a span of one year Even after skipping several pages occasionally still I didn t make it past P.90 I m stopping right there I have read the voluminous Game of Thrones series without skipping even a word, but this I liked Wanja by the way and Munira is kinda ostentatious Karega a [...]


  • There s no denying it Thiong o is a genius He knows what he s talking about Petals of Blood is a well written piece of work filled to the brim with interesting ideas, critique and opinions But what s always confronting about Thiong o s works for me is that I m clearly not part of his target audience His works take me a long time this one took me a month , despite the fact that I am experienced in reading African literature His works are packed with cultural references, Swahili and Gikuyu It does [...]


  • Excellent read The tensions of the new Kenya presented in this book echo today across much of the region However, it s eerily reticent of the important movement of a return to culture emerging among contemporary African literature I am a big fan of Ngugi s work, particularly Decolonising the Mind, and Petals of Blood is a clear example and standard which invites the reader to understand theimportance of this need to recenter out language and literature in the place and space it is coming from a [...]


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