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Meja Mwangi (David Meja Mwangi) Biography

(1948– ), (David Meja Mwangi), Carcase for Hounds, Taste of Death, Cry Freedom, Kill Me Quick

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mr Polly to New France

Kenyan novelist, born in Nanyuki, Kenya, educated at Kenyatta College. His novels, which focus on Kenyan social problems, are brisk, sometimes humorous, and written in a meticulously realist style. Carcase for Hounds (1974) and Taste of Death (1975) deal with the anti-colonial Mau Mau insurgency of the 1950s; they are distinguished by emphasis on the ‘impersonal mechanism’, as he put it, of guerrilla warfare. Carcase for Hounds formed the basis of a film, Cry Freedom (1981). Urban squalor is explored in Kill Me Quick (1973), which charts the descent into petty thievery of two desperate young men; Going Down River Road (1976) exposes low-life in Nairobi. The Cockroach Dance (1979), set in an opulent housing estate, highlights an impoverished meter reader's slow-burning, but inexorable, fuse of rebellion. A thriller, The Bushtrackers (1979), examines such evils as big-game poaching, gun-running, and protection rackets. Other novels include Bread of Sorrow (1987), another socially concerned thriller; Weapon of Hunger (1989); The Return of Shaka (1989), set in the USA; and Striving for the Wind (1990), which treats the despair of small farmers in contemporary rural Kenya.

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