This remarkable and symbolic novel centers around Wariinga's tragedy and uses it to tell a story of contemporary Kenya faced with the "satan of capitalism." Ngugi has directed his writing even more firmly towards the commitment that he shows in Writers in Politics and Detained: A Writer's Prison Diary. The novel was written secretly in prison on the only available material -- lavatory paper. It was discovered when almost complete but unexpectedly returned to him on his release. Such was the demand for the original Gikuyu edition that it reprinted on publication.