Ngugi, in "The River Between", mainly uses very simple language to describe the simplicity of the different scenes throughout the novel. By this, one can assume that Ngugi's writing style is very similar to that of the African "story telling" tradition.
The author uses a distinction in setting between two mountain ridges as of equal importance to both of the ridges. The opening of this novel states the conflicts within the Kenyan landscape which has not yet experienced the effects of British colonialism. "The two ridges lay side by side. One was Kameno, the other was Makuyu. Between them was a valley. It was called the valley of life The river was called Honia, which meant cure, or bring-back-life. Honia never dried: it seemed to possess a strong will to live, scorning droughts and weather changes" (1). The way in which the author describes this setting is as though he already experienced it, and retelling it as if he were thinking back to the past. .
Ngugi almost always uses "sleeping lions" to depict the people of the Kameno and Makuyu ridges. "When you stood in the valley, the two ridges ceased to be sleeping lions united by their common source of life. They became antagonists. You could tell this, not by anything tangible but by the way they faced each other, like two rivals ready to come to blows in a life and death struggle for the leadership of this isolated region" (1). The deeply rooted conflict between the two ridges, the Kameno ridge, the home of Waiyaki, symbolizes a continuation of indigenous cultural traditions.
Ngugi manages to use metaphors, and similes to create many scenes in the novel. "[Valleys and ridges behind Kameno and Makuyu] were like many sleeping lions which never awoke. They just slept the big deep sleep of their Creator"(1). Here, Ngugi compares the elements of life with the animals. Even though you could not see the whole extent of the river as it gracefully, and with out any apparent haste, wound its way down the valley, like a snake"(1).