Customer Reviews

10
4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
9
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
River and the Source, The
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$27.50 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I just finished this book - just finding a copy required an inter-library loan from across the state. It was well worth the effort, and now I find myself looking for copies to buy and provide to friends and family.

"The River and the Source" vividly portrays the grace and strength of a family matriarch - the wife of a tribal chief - in precolonial Kenya. It follws her and her family through the colonial years, shows the family's conversion to Christianity, and follows the family for several generations to the present. The family continues to draw strength from their memories and stories of the matriarch, and from their faith in God.

There is a powerful strong Christian message in this book; what made it most interesting for me is how it ties that faith together with African culture. It will stick in my memory for years to come. I haven't read anything quite like it. Strongly recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
In this text, Margaret Ogolla, narrates to us the story of four generations whose ancestral roots can be traced to the Great Chief Odero Gogni of Yimbo - which is a small African village. The Chief is blessed with a girl whom he names Akoko (meaning, a child born during the weeding period).

Akoko grows into a beautiful woman who is married off to the village of Sakwa where she eventually has three children but calamity befalls her home and she finds herself with only a daughter to depend on. Through many trials and tribulations, she manages to keep her family together and finally dies when her daughter is married off.

Akoko's name and character are later used by generations as a source of inspiration - especially for the womenfolk. Akoko's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all face a myriad of challenges but overcome them through - what they believe to be - the blood of Akoko that runs in their veins.

In essence, The River and the Source looks at the pivotal role played by the African woman in society. It tracks the changing roles that successive generations, in African societies, assign to their women. From mothers, housekeepers and wives to bread winners, intellectuals and decision makers, the developing stature of the African woman is cleverly intertwined within an exciting and sometimes comical story.

In a previously male dominated society, The River and the Source, encapsulates the formidable strides that the African woman has made in asserting herself as pivotal member of society.

Like a river that is a source of livelihood to many, Ogolla depicts a society that has long disregarded its women but which has to grapple with the reality that change is like a river that cannot be stopped. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read especially if you enjoy indulging in African literature.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A lot of literature coming out of Kenya is in the Kikuyu voice so it was refreshingly different to read the writings of a Luo woman. This book was our bookclub selection for January 2009. Here is what I thought of it.

I think it was unfair that I could not help compare this book to Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe) and The River Between (Ngugi wa Thiongo) -- they are all tales of generational changes due to the arrival of the Western Culture in Africa. The writer takes us on a journey through three generations of women. The first person we meet is the Great grand mother, the beautiful daughter of a chief, who married into another chief's family. The courtship, bride-price negotiations and finally taking of the bride process are amazing. Its full of prode and rich in tradition. Then we meet grandma who does not fair well in marriage and fortune so that once she gets a chance to convert, she willingly does so, in the process bringing her mother, daughter and nephew along. The daughter grows up to be educated in the European school system becomes a teacher, marries an educated man --- they raise a large Catholic family. The nephew (who by the way is in line to be the next chief) grows up to join the priesthood, is elevated to Bishop without looking back. The story ends with modern day urban Kenya following the VERY WESTERNIZED lifestyles of the fourth generation. The transformation is clear in the names --- we start the book with native names but after being i converterd into Catholicism we have names like Elizabeth, Veronica and it goes downhill from there onwards. By the time the book ends we have Becky and all these American sitcom names, it just leaves me shaking my head in amazement --- what happened here for a people just to abandon it all like that.

What I found disturbing is the lack of critical political analysis of the choices that were being made by the characters in the book. The writer made it look like the Luo characters in these books were more than ready to embrace the Western culture although it was demoting their societal stature. How can one give up his royal thrown to be at the bottom of the new social order. Secondly, the book is written through the second world war and it shows how willing people were to fight for the colonial powers without really questioning what they were doing.
The writer also takes us through the Mau-Mau freedom movement and has her characters taking an overly assimilated role without having anything stirred in them to join the liberation. If one did not have any prior information regarding the Kenyan liberation movement, you would be left to think that it was just a Kikuyu battle.

It was a refreshing read in the sense that you somehow have a glimpse into the how some individuals were really drawn to the Western culture, the impact of those choices onto the generations to come... because it is clear that assimilation gave you access to education which created a place for you in the leadership class of post-colonialism Kenya. The speed at which this assimilation happened is disturbingly fast. Its is strangely true as this story reflects the reality of many African families I know. For that it is real and in that regard the writer presented a reality which made the book worth the read.

Personally, the fact that this book was written by an African Woman makes it worth the read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
This was my High School set-books read for my final exams. It was my best read, inspiring, mesmerizing....excreta. It will give you a better understanding of the Luo culture, in addition to reflecting on the position of Women in a traditional society and the tremendous steps they took to succeed in a societal context that never even recognized the existence of women.
Akoko's character is the most outstanding... `a woman of iron'.
...its simply a must read!!!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on March 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Its been well over a decade since I first set my eyes on this masterpiece as a mandatory High School Literature text in Kenya yet I still get the chills merely pronouncing the 'River And The Source'.

It takes us through a couple generations of a Luo family with strong matriachal inclination as a sample-matriachal emphasis having been a rarity in Kenyan past but slightly less so than Obama's current presidency and whose father happened to be a Kenyan Luo-a story of how societies in Kenya experienced a change in both culture, religion, and in general an outlook of the arrival and ultimate departure of European Colonials and the imprint of the western ways on African societies.

Seeded on a strong willed beautiful daughter of a chief granted the name Akoko, the story explores the timelines right from before World War 2 through the cultural and religious changes such as adoption of christianity, through World War 2 and independence, and righy up to the current high paced Kenyan society and some of its attendant inconveniences such as the 'HIV Carnage'.

I must admit my prior lack of sufficient audience to the seeming 'complicity..hinging on connivance' with which Africans are potrayed to have 'assimilated to' fighting the European War(World War 2) and the near non-mention of the independence struggle, or local attempts to resist, or perhaps persist in traditional beliefs as well as 'autonomy', which is admittedly disappointing to some extent.

Nonetheless the sheer intensity and vividness with which Margaret(the author) captures the various events...not to mention the lexical denstity employed in so doing...such as:
<Akoko's(the principal matriach)distinct cries at birth right at the begining>....
<The moment when Akoko tucks away the grand kids and beyond in for bed for the 'very last time'[so vivid my eyes welled up no matter how many times I read the section]>....
<'Nyabera' Akoko's daughter's agony so graphically potrayed it feels as if she were next to the audience.... on seemingly losing loved one after loved one>....
<The 'military swagger' and marriage of Mark Anthony Oloo Sigu to Akoko's Grand Daughter I think>......
keeps the reader right on the edge of their seat with some tissues....

Some of my recollection of the depictions might be inaccurate relying upon way over 10 years between my ingesting of this masterpiece and presenting this review but that goes miles to show just how much an impact the book had on me.

You gotta read the book for urself....to get what I mean...

To slightly digress I can draw a contrasting 'religious context' or alternative "real life" analogy from Obama's Paternal grandfather, as presented by President Obama himself in his book 'Dreams From My Father', who happened to be a Muslim. He simply found the idea of a man washing away other mens sins less consistent than his traditional belief system. Obama's father was then apparently raised muslim but apparently became a confirmed aethist with his coming of age. Obama's association with Islam-not that there should have been any qualms since they are all 'Abraham's Offshoots'-is often misintroduced based on these far from close to direct association given Obama meaningfully 'saw his father' for the first time at 10 years old for a shortwhile before the father vanished till death.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on July 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is about a family line of one strong woman who bears alot of hardships in life including death and matrimonial injustices committed to her as a widow and later finds retribution through prosperity of her great grand children. The rivers starts out as a small stream meaning herself Akoko the daughter of A great chief from Sakwa Bondo in Western Kenya through her daughter and finally to her great grand children, where the river is now flowing with momentum. The story covers 4 generations and is basically about the hardships they ahve to face until they get to have prosperity through the later generation. I strongly recomend reading it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on April 25, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book is very well written. I really like her characterization, the choice of words and her smooth blend of the traditional and the modern. The plot is so delicately interwoven that the feminist story emerges neatly right from the traditional set up flowing through the modern story, without any clash of the cultures....

This book is a must read, I see it coming very close to Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart'.

Wanjiku Ngunjiri,
Nairobi, Kenya.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on April 8, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I love this book. It was my literature text when in high school and I still read it every year. It explains the traditions and taboos of the luo tribe and also the coming of our colonizers the British, and how it affected our traditions. I highly recommend it
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
The book shows how the western civilization brought an end to a culture; a legend.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
You must read it to understand! I wish I could find enough copies to give them away to friends and family. As I understand it is is required reading in many schools throughout Kenya. If you can find it pick it up it's a wonderful book!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
The River Between (African Writers Series)
The River Between (African Writers Series) by Ngugi wa Thiongo (Paperback - August 11, 2008)
$13.49

A Grain of Wheat (Penguin African Writers)
A Grain of Wheat (Penguin African Writers) by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o (Paperback - June 5, 2012)
$13.87

Petals of Blood
Petals of Blood by Ngugi wa Thiongo (Paperback - February 22, 2005)
$12.50
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.