The River Between

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First edition
(publ. Heinemann)

The River Between is a 1965 novel by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o- a prolific Kenyan author. It tells the story of the separation of two neighbouring villages of Kenya caused by differences in faith, with the Mau Mau Uprising as its background.[1] The bitterness between them caused much hatred between the adults of each side. The story tells about the struggle of a young leader 'Waiyaki' to unite the two villages of Kameno and Makuyu through sacrifice and pain.

The novel is set at the colonial period at the arrival of the white settlers in Kenyan central ridges, and has a mountain setting.



  • Amoko, Apollo O. 2005. "The resemblance of colonial mimicry: A revisionary reading of Ngugi wa Yhiong'o's The River Between". Research in African Literatures 36, : 34-50.
  • Bongmba, Elias. 2001. "On love: Literary images of a phenomenology of love in Ngugi wa Yhiong'o's The River Between". Literature & Theology: An International Journal of Theory, Criticism and Culture 15, (4): 373-395.
  • Gordon, Natasha Maria. 2004. "To write what cannot be written: Female circumcision in African and Middle Eastern literature". Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education 11, (1): 73-87.
  • Grobler, G. M. M. 1998. "And the river runs on ...: Symbolism in two African novels". South African Journal of African Languages/Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif Vir Afrikatale 18, (3): 65-67.
  • James, Trevor. 2001. "Theology of landscape and Ngugi wa Thiong'o's The River Between; Mapping the sacred: Religion, geography and postcolonial literatures; Cross/Cultures: Readings in the Post/Colonial literatures in English." In (pp. 227–40) Scott, Jamie S. (ed. and introd.); Simpson-Housley, Paul (ed.), Mapping the Sacred: Religion, geography and postcolonial literatures. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi, 2001, xxxiii, 486 pp. (Amsterdam, Netherlands: Cross/Cultures: Readings in the Post/Colonial literatures in English 48), eds. Jamie S. Scott, Paul Simpson-Housley, 486. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi.
  • Karambiri, Sarah. 2003. "Hybridity and mimicry in two novels: The River Between and In Search of April Raintree; intercultural Journeys/Parcours interculturels". In (pp. 83-96) Dagenais, Natasha (ed.); Daxell, Joanna (ed.); Rimstead, Roxanne (collaborator and preface), Intercultural Journeys/Parcours interculturels. Baldwin Mills, QC: Topeda Hill, 2003. xiv, 270 pp., eds. Natasha Dagenais, Joanna Daxell and Roxanne Rimstead, 270. Baldwin Mills, QC: Topeda Hill.
  • Nicholls, Brendon. 2003. "Clitoridectomy and gikuyu nationalism in Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's The River Between". Kunapipi: Journal of Post-Colonial Writing 25, (2): 40-55.
  • Raditlhalo, Sam. 2001. "'Kenyan sheroes': Women and nationalism in Ngugi's novels". English Studies in Africa: A Journal of the Humanities 44, : 1-12.
  • Wise, Christopher. 1995. "Messianic hallucinations and manichean realities: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Christianity, and the Third World novel". Christianity and Literature 45, (1): 31-51.