An enchanting novel of magical realism from a new voice, Kenyan author Wanjikũ Wa Ngũgĩ.
Victoriana is a country ruled by an Emperor-for-Life who is dying from an illness not officially acknowledged in a land where truth and facts are decided by the Emperor. The elite goes along with the charade. Their children are conditioned to conform. It is a land of truthful lies, where reality has uncertain meaning.
Mumbi, a rebellious child from the capital of Westville, and her brother are sent to live in rural Hippoland. But what was meant to be a punishment turns out to be a glorious discovery of the magic of the land, best captured in the stories their eccentric aunt Sara tells them. Most captivating to the children is the tale of a porcelain bowl supposed to possess healing powers. Returning to Westville as an adult, Mumbi spreads the story throughout the city and to the entire country. Exhausted by years of endless bleak lies, the people are fascinated by the mystery of the porcelain bowl. When word of its healing powers reaches the Emperor himself, he commands Mumbi to find it for him—with dramatic consequences for everyone in Victoriana.
Captivating and enchanting, Seasons in Hippoland plays with the tradition of magic realism. Every image in this novel is a story, and every story is a call for resistance to anyone who tries to confine our imagination or corrupt our humanity.
About the Author
Wanjikũ Wa Ngũgĩ is the author of the novel The Fall of Saints and former director of the Helsinki African Film Festival. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Nairobi Noir, Houston Noir, and St. Petersburg Review, among others.
“Kenyan author Wanjiku Wa Ngugi tells an incandescent tale of Mumbi, sent to live in Hippoland as a child. Once grown, Mumbi returns to her homeland to relate a magical story that challenges their understanding and imagination.”
— Ms. Magazine
"Part fairy tale, part political parable, Seasons in Hippoland is a powerful novel whose women are resilient and creative in the face of oppression." — Foreword Reviews
“Takes readers to the fictional African nation of Victoriana, where one woman’s childhood stories threaten to change everything for her people, who have long lived under the rule of the deceitful Emperor-for-Life.” — Bustle, "Most Anticipated Books Of December 2021"