Review: Binyavanga Wainana’s One Day I Will Write About This Place

Binyavanga Wainana’s fantastic new book, One Day I Will Write About This Place explodes the boundaries of memoir and our notions of what it means to be a contemporary African. The book is part travelogue, part coming-of-age story, part African geopolitical history, but really in the end a tale about how its author became a writer. The story is told through dispatches from a particular time and place—grade school in Kenya, the first year of a business course in South Africa—and woven through with commentary that extends beyond the moment. Wainana is a master of simultaneously tackling both the small and the large-scale. On one page, he writes about a woman he is watching on the Amtrak train into New York City, coming to the conclusion that he might have diabetes, watching ethnic conflict bloom in Kenya through poorly spelled rants in online chat rooms, and tales from his trip to Togo to report on the 2010 World Cup.

Read the rest on the Iowa Review website.