The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi

The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi

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.”

Title:The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi Reviews

  • Roman Clodia

    I've seen other reviewers compare this to Homer but for me it's closer to Hesiod's Theogony. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o pays homage to the epic genre with invocations to the supreme creator: 'I implore thee ...

  • Gumble's Yard

    Published today 8/10/20The only other book I have read by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o was “The Wizard of the Crow” – an epic, sprawling, satirical, magical-realism account of the fictional African count...

  • Calzean

    Fascinating for an outsider with no idea of Kenya's tribal beliefs. Reads like an epic poem with the advantage it is quite sort. The book follows the original man and woman who find the perfect land, ...

  • Lou

    The Perfect Nine is a dazzling, genre-defying novel in verse by critically-acclaimed poet and writer which singlehandedly attempts to tackle the absurdities, injustices, and corruption of an entire co...

  • Sandra

    Look for me in love, look for me in unity, look for me among the helping, look for me among the oppressed, look for me among the seekers of justice...I have never sat around a fire and listened while ...

  • Sam toer

    I really like this take on Gĩkũyũ people. It shows Ngugi’s pride and love for his Kenyan ancestors. “The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi” tells the tale of the ten beautiful da...

  • George

    Looking forward to this one, especially since novels in verse are rare occurrences.For those interested, I recently interviewed Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o here:

  • aqilahreads

    the perfect nine is a PERFECT read, i cant find anything that i dislike about this book. its about 99 suitors who arrive on gikuyu and mumbi’s land, seeking to marry their beautiful daughters called...

  • 2TReads

    I really enjoyed this tale. Lessons of perseverance, trust, friendship, and sisterhood, with the trials and adventure that engenders all....

  • Joy

    I had high hopes for this one. English language readers are in desperate need of legendry and mythologies from around the world. Unfortunately, The Perfect Nine feels more like a modern attempt at a l...