Ngugi wa Thiong'o

The Perfect Nine
  • The Perfect Nine

  • A dazzling, genre-defying novel in verse from the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls ‘one of the greatest writers of our time’

    Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s novels and memoirs have received glowing praise from the likes of Barack Obama, the New Yorker, the Guardian and the New York Times Book Review; he has been a finalist for the International Booker Prize and is annually tipped to win the Nobel Prize for Literature; and his books have sold tens of thousands of copies around the world.

    In his first attempt at the epic form, Ngugi tells the story of the founding of the Gikuyu people of Kenya, from a strongly feminist perspective. A verse narrative, blending folklore, mythology, adventure and allegory, The Perfect Nine chronicles the efforts the Gikuyu founders made to find partners for their ten beautiful daughters – called ‘The Perfect Nine’ – and the challenges they set for the 99 suitors who seek their hands in marriage. The epic has all the elements of adventure, with suspense, danger, humor and sacrifice.

    Ngugi’s epic is a quest for the beautiful as an ideal of living, as the motive force behind migrations of African peoples. He notes, ‘The epic came to me one night as a revelation of ideals of quest, courage, perseverance, unity, family; and the sense of the divine, in human struggles with nature and nurture.’

    ‘Seldom have the raw truths of Africa been exposed so vividly, yet humorously. . . With tales that tease, then bite, [Ngugi] tackles the absurdities, injustices and corruption of a continent.’ Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdad Sings on Minutes of Glory in the New York Times Book Review

Ngugi wa Thiong’o is one of the leading writers and scholars at work in the world today. His books include the novels Petals of Blood, for which he was imprisoned by the Kenyan government in 1977, A Grain of Wheat and Wizard of the Crow; the memoirs, Dreams in a Time of War, In the House of the Interpreter and Birth of a Dream Weaver; and the essays, Decolonizing the Mind, Something Torn and New and Globalectics. Recipient of many honours, among them ten honorary doctorates, he is currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.