Who is Matigari? Is he young or old? Dead or living... or even Jesus Christ? These are the questions asked by the people when a man who has survived a war for independence emerges from the mountains. Matigari is in search of his family, the rebuilding of his home and the start of a new and peaceful future. But his search becomes a quest for truth and justice as he finds the people still dispossessed and the land he loves ruled by corruption, fear, and misery. Rumor springs up that a man with superhuman powers has risen to renew the freedom struggle. The novel races towards its climax as Matigari realizes that words alone cannot defeat the enemy. He vows to use force of arms to achieve his true liberation. Lyrical and hilarious in turn, Matigari is a memorable satire on the betrayal of human ideals and on the bitter experience of post-independence African society.
"Ng?g? wa Thiong'o has succeeded in creating a fascinating and revolutionary concept of genre... Matigari is both a novel at the same time it is an oral narrative performance. [Matigari] is likewise equally a hagiography as it is a myth."
"Soon after Matigari's publication, its hero was mistaken by the paranoid, dictorial government of Kenya as a revolutionary agitator plotting to overthrow the government, which promptly issued a warrant for his arrest! When the ensuing extensive search across the country finally revealed that Matigari was only a fictional hero, the book which had given birth to this phantom, this Matigari...was immediately confiscated and banned from circulation."
-F. Odun Balogun