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Kirinyaga Paperback – May 25, 1999
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From School Library Journal
Pat Bangs, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
It's an interesting book in that this community of people live as a primitive tribe, just as they did in Africa, only they have been transplanted to a planetoid. But the science fiction aspect of it is very slight - we almost felt tricked into reading a more literate and meaningful book than we set out to read, but what a reward.
The structure of the book is that it is a series of short stories that all weave together to make a cohesive novel. One of the stories "For I Have Touched the Sky" stands on its own and was the unanimous favorite pick of our family and those with whom we shared it. Heartbreaking in its emotional power.
Do yourself a favor and buy this book while you can. Just be careful whom you lend it to!
Now for some observations/criticisms:
First of all, the book fails to stop at the end. The epilogue contributes nothing at all to the story, although it does satisfy our curiosity about the fate of the narrator. I'll spoil it for you now: he never learns. Skip the epilogue; it's a waste.
Second, very little of the credit for this book can go to Resnick. As I mentioned, the philosophical underpinnings of this book are those of Daniel Quinn, and the basic premise of the narrative was issued as a challenge to the author by Orson Scott Card. Resnick's role here was not that of architect, but merely assembler of other's thoughts. The parables that the narrator/protagonist tells are very clever, and Resnick deserves credit if they are his own. However, I would be surprised if they were not traditional African fables.
My third issue is about the author's afterword, not the book itself, but it cannot be ignored. In it Resnick proclaims this book 'the most honored science-fiction book in history'. To back this up he gives an individual account of each chapter (they were originally published separately over serveral years) and the various awards. In the telling he counts 'Hugo Award winner' and 'Hugo Award nominee' as two different awards. ?? Same goes for 'Nebula nominee' and 'Nebula preliminary ballot'. Please. All this bragging simply points my attention to one fact: the book as a whole has not won any awards.Read more ›
This is a remarkable book, written with so much wisdom and insight. The dialogue and prose is sharp and controlled. Resnick presents both sides of the arguments with such clarity and humanity, it's sometimes heartbreaking. Koriba's well-intentioned but ultimately misguided crusade against change is challenged again and again, not necessarily by the "outside", but by the "inside" - the minds and hearts of his villagers. It's fascinating to see how he resolves these challenges to his authority and his hopes for the Kikuyu ... and sometimes downright scary.
The book also shows us the erroneous assumption of multiculturalism - that everything in every culture is worth saving and perpetuating. The modern myths of the Kikuyu - and indeed of many peoples on this planet - that "the West" is to blame for their condition and/or corruption (and everything "Western" should therefore be anathema) is not spared. It's tempting to carry on here about the general public's overwhelming ignorance of Africa's booming slave trade, because it's all in the same vein.
The stories show that for all our differences in time and space, people are the same everywhere - and that is the "problem" that cannot be controlled by isolation.
The reality is that every culture is always changing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great work by Resnick, specially the story of "For I have touched the sky"Published 14 months ago by Millennium TV repair
I'm not a big science fiction reader, but I am very interested in utopias. I loved every one of the stories/novellas that make up this book. Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by Jyotsna Sreenivasan
I learned so much about Kenyan history by reading about this futuristic Utopia. It also taught great lessons that we must move forward and stop trying to build a future from the... Read morePublished on May 2, 2013 by Bonnie Blackmore
The Kindle version of the book contains frequent errors which appear to be the result of the OCR software that was used to produce the Kindle file. Read morePublished on October 16, 2010 by Richard R. Slater
A collection exploring the conflict between an aboriginal people and an advanced technology. In this case, an African group, the Kikiyu, and European advanced technology. Read morePublished on September 3, 2007 by average
I bought and read this book in large part based on the reviews I had read on Amazon.com. I should have paid more attention to the negative reviews, and less to the glowingly... Read morePublished on July 4, 2005 by S. Huff
Resnick is a hit-and-miss author, sometimes cute, and sometimes too befuddled by his attempts to be clever and cute. Read morePublished on July 3, 2005 by monesque
Kirinyaga is a collection of short stories tied together in the form of a novel. A planetoid called Kirinyaga is set up as a utopia, so the Kikuyu people can live as their... Read morePublished on June 13, 2005 by Ragnar65
Perhaps I should begin by setting out who and where I am. I am a white Canadian who has lived in Kenya for seven years. Read morePublished on April 24, 2004 by Mr. D. Johnson