Petals of Blood Background

Petals of Blood Background

Petals of Blood is a 1977 novel by Ngugi wa Thiong'o set in post-independence Kenya. The story centers around four characters whose lives are drastically changed as a result of the rebellion, and must learn how to adapt and survive in a rapidly Westernizing environment.

The protagonists of Petals of Blood are four adults; each one decides to escape the cities to go live in a certain small village named Ilmorog. The characters each have their own separate backstories, as well as motivations for leaving their cities, but as the novel goes on, they all begin to face the same struggles, chiefly of which would be the increasing amount of change, not all for the better, which is rippling all across Kenya. The novel freely utilizes flashbacks and stream-of-consciousness writing to tell their individual histories while still linking them to the story's present.

Petals of Blood was well-received by critics, especially for the strong political themes that run through it discussing capitalism, Westernization, and education. In the 1980's, the book was adapted into a two-hour radio play on BBC Radio 3.

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