A dazzling, genre-defying novel in verse from the author Delia Owens says “tackles the absurdities, injustices, and corruption of a continent”
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novels and memoirs have received glowing praise from the likes of President Barack Obama, the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, and NPR; he has been a finalist for the Man 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, Ngũgĩ tells the story of the founding of the Gĩkũyũ people of Kenya, from a strongly feminist perspective. A verse narrative, blending folklore, mythology, adventure, and allegory, The Perfect Nine chronicles the efforts the Gĩkũyũ founders make 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.
Ngũgĩ’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.”
"Onyango uses his rich bass voice to lend a realistic atmosphere to this fantastical tale, which is both contemporary and ancient." --AudioFile magazine
“Essential reading and especially vital for our times.... Emphasizing fundamental cycles of birth, life, love, and death, this tale is centered on the Gĩkũyũ but connected to all of us and our humanity, a story to be told and retold, as it has been in various forms, for generations.” --Booklist (starred review)
“[The Perfect Nine] departs from the sprawl of his past novels into an engaging if slight lyrical epic. Combining Homeric verse with oral storytelling tropes - choruses, chants, songs - he retells the origin myth of the Gĩkũyũ, Kenya's largest tribe.... Thiong'o's fans will appreciate this.” --Publishers Weekly