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hm books 2008
The Last Plague

"In his 449-page novel, The Last
, Kenyan writer, Meja Mwangi,
achieved two things: he wrote a
restrained AIDS novel that was true to
the apocalyptic character of the
pandemic, and he wrote a classic of
delirious humour. It is this combination
of tragedy (that never quite loses its
grasp on hope), deft satire, and
unexpected humour that bushwhacks
the reader at the most sombre
moments, that makes this book
compelling rereading, even seven years
after its first publication."

Books Worth Reading.
Crossroads is on the verge of extinction by Aids.  The disease has
wiped out most able-bodied inhabitants, leaving behind orphans
and old people.  There seems to be no hope except in Janet, the
lone community health volunteer.  She has made it her mission to
speak out against the habits, the customs and the ignorance that
have made it difficult to effectively control the spreading of the

Crossroads examines the conflicts between the old and the new
and between the traditional and the modern. It is also about the
relationship between men and women as, with alacrity and
humour, the writer tells the story of one compassionate woman
and her determination to save her male-dominated community
from Aids.

"Crossroads The Last Plague"  turns a critical spotlight on a
community facing difficult choices.
The Last Plague by Meja Mwangi
Jomo Kenyatta Award for Literature
National Book Week Award
Other themes that are common to all his works are the difficulties
young educated Kenyans face when trying to return to their rural
homes to apply their learning and the impact of corrupt officials on the
lives of the poor. The young adult novel
The Last Plague, which
won Mwangi his third Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in
2001, offers a seldom-heard African male perspective on the
impact of HIV/AIDS in rural areas. Again, it features a well-
educated, well-meaning young man facing many obstacles as he
tries to set up his veterinary practice in a small, dying town.  
Mwangi’s tremendous concern for the poor and disadvantaged—
and his prescriptions for how they could really be helped—
resonate throughout the novel.

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