In this astonishing, dreamy memoir, celebrated author Binyavanga Wainaina—winner of the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing and writer for Vanity Fair and The New York Times—turns his attention to the Kenya of his youth. Told from the perspective of him as a child, Wainaina explores tribal racism, political unrest and Western influences on his homeland with an innocence and confusion that bring such humanity to these larger issues. (One heartbreaking example: his blacklisting from the country's best schools, despite his excellent grades, due to his mother's Ugandan heritage). Running parallel to the narrative of a child's coming of age is that of a young artist coming of age. While listening to a Congolese band, he describes how the unfamiliar dialect of the musicians "stirs something green and creamy in [his] belly." Words quickly become his life, especially as he grows up to become of one of Africa's intellectual leaders, but never does he lose that magical, deeply felt sense of language. And as his readers, neither do we.
— Leigh Newman
Printed from Oprah.com on Saturday, December 7, 2013