Laura's Reviews > Kirinyaga

Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick
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Jun 19, 09

Read in June, 2009

This was the perfect Book Club book. I think that this is a book worth reading, discussing, and enjoying no matter what your genre preference is. It is a quick read, entertaining, well written, engaging, and thought-provoking. I am very impressed with this writer's talent.

I spent a good deal of the book frustrated or angry with the main character (who is telling the story from his own perspective) but I still couldn't put the book down. It was too fascinating! The picture of the society he drew was such an accurate portrayal of human nature.

This story is set in a future where humans have the ability to terraform "planetoids" in our solar system. There is a belt of "Utopian" worlds where different groups of people have a charter to develop their own Utopian society on a newly created world. In this book, the main character is the witch doctor for the Kikuyu, an ancient Kenyan tribe who have refuted all European inventions and influences to reclaim their lost culture and heritage. They are on their own world of Kirinyaga to create a Kikuyuan Utopia. You then have the anachronism of a space station in the sky, controlling the weather, and a population on the planet living without any modern comforts.

***Warning! Sad things happen to children and babies in this book due to the harshness of their living conditions, their religion, and the witch doctor's decisions. These were not at all graphic, they were dealt with matter-of-factly, I just have a hard time dealing with anything sad happening to little ones, even if it was a part of a normal life in our ancient history.

***Spoiler Alert***!

My favorite part of this story is when Ndemi finally stands up to Koriba and leaves him to get educated on earth so he can return to teach his people truth and knowledge instead of Koriba's lies. Their disagreement about the goodness/necessity of facts vs. fables was interesting. I also loved the ending. It was so poetic! It created a strong image in my mind that will be with me for a very long time.

My favorite theme of this book relates to the importance of change; and how the desire to maintain things in status quo leads to stagnation and death. I like the different things that the author pointed out about the idea and fable of Utopia.

Overall, this book was a really great read! I think it should be on our Highschoolers' required reading lists. It was that profound! A classic!
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