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Aside from the fun weirdness of the enlarged body parts and the fantastical Babel-like project of Marching to Heaven itself, it allows the author to create the iconic contrasts and symbols that are available to fantasy writers: the nature-paradise where Kamiti and Nyawira retreat in order to return equipped to the urban world of men (a la Midsummer Night's Dream, maybe?

), the "castle" (Rapunzel style) where the Ruler has bound his defiant wife (and by implication all women), the shrine of the Wizard itself, a place of confrontation and resolution and safety.

Matt Cheney: I'm curious what people make of the narrative structure of the book, the way it sometimes introduces ideas and stories in one narrative strand, then later works backward to bring in more explanation (for instance, exactly what the women did to so offend The Ruler and the cabinet in front of the people from the Global Bank is not revealed until we've seen the reaction to it all).

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Jessica Stockton: One of the things I personally loved about this book was that tension between, say, Dostoyevsky and Tolkien: the exhaustively deep and detailed study of characters and motivations and the nuances of events, and the highly symbolic, over-the-top magic and strangeness of fantasy.

Sam Jones: We’re talking about the choices that Thiongo made in constructing the narrative, but I was really more impressed by how well he executes on the choices he makes.

Like any big book, WIZARD has its minor longueurs and repetition, but faults are so trivial and there’s so much to enjoy here in terms of language, character, and ideas.

Jessica Stockton: What amazes me about WIZARD OF THE CROW is that it forces the reader to live with the troubles of Africa (much) longer, and while not soft-peddling anything or letting anyone off the hook, makes them liveable.

Dan Wickett: I thought the usage of this type of narrative was a great idea, especially with a book of this length.I think it added to the suspense, and also added to my own interest level as a reader – realizing how things might just be resolved at different times than when I might generally expect them to.