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Sunday, 22 March 2015

2015 Winter Read Progress (WRP)

Even though, this is not the first time I use seasons to classify my posts, I am sure more than one person have asked why do I use European climate changes to classify my (African) readings. It is because I live in Barcelona, and weather temperature determines our everyday activity. Unlike in Nigeria, where we only have two major seasons; rainy and dry seasons. Luckily, the weather here isn't as harsh (that is below 0ºC in winter or above 40ºC in summer) as in some cities, towns or villages in the inland of the Peninsula, except for the humidity. You see, the weather means a lot to us living on this side of the world. For instance, when asked about a particular event, generally, the date would come last. When we were planning our wedding, we were like:
yes... after summer, in autumn, hopefully, it won't be too cold, it's a pity we can't honeymoon in Europe, it's autumn and it is not hot enough to wear our swim suit neither can we swim, the sea will be freezing cold. Let's not talk about sunbathing.. well.. then we have to travel to the South Hemisphere..., perhaps a tropical country? Well, it depends on where.....and....how much? What are the requirements? Vaccination.., prophylaxis.., 
That said, below is what I read Winter of 2015, or first trimester of 2015

   

      

                                     

  1. Dew in the Morning by Shimmer Chinodya (Zimbabwe) AWS, fiction
  2. Mating Birds by (late) Lewis Nkosi (South Africa) Apartheid, fiction
  3. A Month and A Day by (late) Ken Saro Wiwa (Nigeria) Niger- Delta, environmental degradation, non-fiction
  4. To My Children's Children, Sindiwe Magona (South Africa) Apartheid, non-fiction
  5. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (Malawi) non-fiction
  6. The Purple Violet of Oshaantu by Neshani Andreas (Namibia), domestic violence, fiction, AWS
  7. Don't let's go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller (Zimbabwe) non-fiction
I read a total of around 1500 pages, 7 books, 4 of which are non-fiction (Truth is stranger than fiction). All of the books are set in the Southern part of the African continent, except #3 set in Nigeria. As you can also see, there are 2 addition to my AWS reading challenge.

How was your reading this Winter? or first trimester of the year 2015? What do you plan on reading in Spring (second trimester 2015)? Any reading challenges? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? Do you plan on reading them?

Happy Reads!



Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Purple Violet of Oshaantu, 2001, Neshani Andreas ****

The story of Kauna known as The Purple Violet of Oshaantu,  whose story was narrated through the voice of her best friend Mee Ali.
We called her the purple violet of Oshaantu. She was so delicate and she came when these flowers were in bloom.
Kauna's husband, Shange, is hot tempered and an abuser, he punches his wife like a punchbag and once punched their unborn child out of her womb. More than once he almost sent her to her grave. Upon that he has a mistress down town that the whole villagers were aware of.

This is a novel that I really enjoyed, I like the fact that voice was given to women living in a remote village in Namibia. Also, while reading, I kept on asking myself why anybody would want to stay with a person who uses them as their punchbag? Then I realised that it is a universal problem. Even in the country where I live, according to statistics, around the average of three women per month die in the hands of their partner. Sometimes, it is just PRESSURE, pressure to stay married. SHAME, shame of what people might say (as if your life was their business), shame to be branded a failure, shame to be stigmatised. LACK OF SUPPORT, which could be from family, community, to economic support.

Furthermore, it also annoyed me how some women blamed and slammed Kauna for her husband's behaviour. She was harshly criticised by her fellow women. Even her own mother did not want her to leave her marital home, alleging that she will tarnish the family's reputation. Her father once told her:
Child, don't wait until it is too late, I know your mother wants your marriage to work. But I have seen women who have died in this thing called marriage, or have done things you don't want to hear about. I don't want it to get to this. Don't think of me, or my work. You must do what you think is best for you.
Also, instead of leaving her husband, she started wishing her best friend Mee Ali (the narrator) harm, because she simply thinks that she too supposed to be punched by her husband (isn't that silly?) I love what Mee Ali told her:
Michael (Mee Ali's husband) is a good man, but this has nothing to do with me.... Shange was the man he was and again it had nothing to do with you. Don't take it personally. He would have treated any woman he married in the same way. ... he would have treated me like that too, but not just for so long.... (I would have left him) I want to be a wife, not a punching bag.
This is a novel that has been in my TBR list for a long time, I have so much looked forward to reading it. Nevertheless, I cannot say it was an amazing read (though, I would have loved to), some passages simply did not keep me on the edge of my seat. However, I must say it is an interesting read and I really like it. My first read from Namibia. I highly recommend.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, 2009, WIlliam Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer ****

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is one fine book that I strongly recommend. It is the story of William Kamkwamba, born into a rural family that depends absolutely on farming to remain alive. They survived the most devastating Malawian food crisis ever. However, he had to drop out from school, primarily due to lack of food and lack of resources too. In the throes of dearth, William, at the very tender age of fourteen longing to be educated, frequented the village library. From a photograph and a text book he built an electricity producing windmill with recyclable materials and spare parts, most of which he collected from the pile of garbage in his village. Few years later, as luck would have it, through the Malawian Newspaper he was featured in the blogosphere through which he caught the attention of TEDGlobal. And, hence, he gained international fame.

This is one book everyone should read, it is encouraging and inspiring, it should be in the library of very school and should be translated into as many languages as possible. Nothing is impossible, you just have to try. Kudos to Bryan Mealer for doing a wonderful job in reference to the writing of the book. 

I have to admit that I am late in the reading of this non-fiction since its publishing in 2009. It was a phenomenon of a book. A lot has been published about William Kamkwamba, below are some official links.

This book won the German Corine Literature Prize. As I have already said, I highly recommend. Thank you to the MS/HS Library for lending me this book, now I can kindly take it back after having it for so long.

Another inspirational non-fiction from Malawi is I Will Try by Legson Kariya

Sunday, 1 March 2015

To My Children's Children, 1990, Sindiwe Magona ***

To My Children's Children is Sindiwe Magona's autobiography that narrates on her growing up and coming of age in South Africa during apartheid. Written as if she is, precisely, narrating her life story to her children's children. Hence, the title. The book started with:
I was born in the Union of South Africa before Great Britain handed over our land to the Afrikaner;..... Then, we were called Natives by polite white people, and kaffirs by the not polite ones, basking in the impunity they enjoyed before the law
Born in rural South Africa life flowed easily, until death interrupted the rhythm. Curiously, at the same time, the Afrikaners came into power bringing along with them their apartheid government that lasted from 1948 to 1994. In the township, where she and her only brother moved to live with their parents, she started to experience the dire consequences of apartheid. To mention a few, midnight police raid, racial segregation, poverty, movement restriction, uprooting and so on. However, she made it to teaching school and graduated. Her parents and extended relatives were proud of her until she became pregnant out of wedlock for a man who barely could take care of himself. Anyway, which black person could care of themselves with dignity in apartheid South Africa? Since the system reduced them all to working robots with a meagre salary. Poorly surviving with a child, she had two more children, that was when life became unbearable. To make matters worse, her "husband" abandoned her with three children. Very young and jobless, she resorted to working as a housemaid for the privileged whites, in my opinion, which inspired her to write her second novel Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night.

Interesting autobiography, the middle not so much, which almost made me abandon. The writing is sometimes, sort of difficult to follow. Though, it shouldn't discourage you from reading the book if you are interested in studying the damages of apartheid and the coming of age of a black woman in its system. By the way, I found out that "Forced to Grow" by same author is a sequence to this autobiography. Which, I hope to read. I look forward to finding out how she finally survived.

My version of the novel is the one published by the Women's Press Ltd, 1991.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A Month and a Day: A Detention Diary, 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa ****

A Month and a Day is a non-fiction that narrates on Ken Saro-Wiwa's illegal detention in 1994. Though, he was released, however, he was detained again in 1995 and was executed by the Nigerian military dictatorship.
Ken Saro-Wiwa was a Nigerian writer and television producer, however, he was famously known as the founder of the MOSOP (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People). A social non-violent movement created to give voice to the Ogoni people whose environment has been completely devastated by the oil companies (notably Shell and Chevron) mining in their land.
And all this happening to a people whose home is one of the richest in Africa. Over the past thirty-two years Ogoni has offered Nigeria an estimated US thirty billion dollars and received NOTHING in return, except a blighted countryside, and atmosphere full of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons; a land in which wildlife is unknown; a land of polluted streams and creeks, of rivers without fish, a land which is, in every sense of the term, an ecological disaster. High-pressure oil pipelines crisscross the surface of Ogoni farmlands and villages dangerously. This is not acceptable.
Oil pollution is a great menace to the Nigerian environment. I wish to warn that the harm being done to the environment of the Niger River delta must be ameliorated by the oil companies which prospect for oil there; the degradation of the ecosystem must end and the dehumanisation of the inhabitants of the areas must cease and restitution be made for past wrong.
We cannot sit idly by while we are, as a people, dehumanised and slowly exterminated and driven to extinction even as our rich resourced are syphoned off to the exclusive comfort and improvement of other Nigerian communities, and the shareholders of multinational oil companies namely Shell (Dutch/British) and Chevron (American).
Needless to say that the Nigerian military dictatorship under Babangida wanted his head on a plate. Unfortunately, they succeeded.
So today, I re-dedicate myself to what has always been my primary concern as a man and a writer: the development of a stable, modern Nigerian which embraces civilised values; a Nigeria where no ethnic group or individual is oppressed, a democratic nation where minority rights are protected, education is a right, freedom of speech and association are guaranteed, and where merit and competence are held as beacons. Convinced that most Nigerians share this concern, I will stand for it at all times and in all places.
This book provides an interesting insight into the creation and development of MOSOP, along with a good understanding of the structure of the Nigerian government of that time. It mentioned the names of some people I already know, for instance Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and even Late Festus Iyayi whose death I announced some weeks ago. Click here. He was also a threat to the system and they wanted his head too. Sadly, they ended up getting it by accident.
Festus Iyayi, an award-winning Nigerian novelist, had lived in it (detention room) in 1987 or thereabouts and had written about it in a Nigerian magazine. The journalist said he had been held in custody for a month. He had not been told what crime he had committed. Neither did his colleagues and employers know that he been held. He was also involved in labour unions and recently in the campaign for Democracy organisation.
I really liked this book, it was enlightening,  insightful and educational indeed. I highly recommend especially if you are interested in social movements, conflict in the Niger Delta and would like to know more about the MOSOP. Another novel that narrates on the consequences of the environmental degradation in the Niger-Delta is Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson

Monday, 16 February 2015

Mating Birds, 1986, Lewis Nkosi ****

Mating Birds is a fine poetical writing that narrates on one of the many crimes of apartheid. To start with, the writer's dedication melted my heart:
For my grandmother, Esther Makatini, who washed white people's clothes so that I could learn to write
In form of a diary, a black man on death row for allegedly raping a white woman during apartheid narrates his ordeal. Like a showcase, he is displayed to anyone who wanted to know more about him. Most especially, to know what demons impulsed him to even dare think of a sexual experience with a woman of a "superior race". That is how he drew the attention of  Dr. Emile Dufré, a Swiss-German doctor that flew all the way from Europe to inquire about what in his back-ground might have triggered such "reaction". Hence, began his need to keep a diary.
The saddest part of the story is that he is assumed guilty and declared mentally unstable without prior investigation. Everyone (he and the black South Africans) knew that his trial was more of a circus before the slaughter though, none of them was surprise:
Why believe the word of the girl against mine, for example? Except for the whiteness of her skin, a color that has caused more trouble and unhappiness in the world than the color of any other skin, what particular claim to virtue can this girl be supposed to have?
He did not hesitate to narrate on his childhood and the consequences of apartheid that led to the death of his father. And in my opinion that also led to his obsession for Vanessa Slater (the girl he allegedly raped):
I dreamed of her, and in my dreams I touched her soft skin and smooth hair. (In reality, as I was later to find out, the skin was neither so soft nor the hair so smooth as I had at first imagined.) All the same, the girl eventually became a kind of sickness for me
Both individuals were simply obsessed with each other, and apartheid fuelled their obsession.
That is how it was between Veronica and me. Apartheid? We had defeated apartheid. We had finally perfected a method of making love without even making contact, utilizing empty space like two telepathic media exchanging telegraphic messages through sexual airwaves.
I enjoyed reading this novel. I reached my conclusion; Veronica Slater is no saint, she enjoys prodigious lovemaking. She is frantic and frenzy in sexual practices that led to her participation in orgies (I am in no way saying that she deserves to be submitted to sexual intercourse against her will). Nevertheless, she is not a victim as the apartheid society wants to make one believe. Instead, she is another excuse to justify the hideous crime and conspiracy of the apartheid government to get rid of yet another black fellow. A way of oppression, repression and social brutality against a particular group of people, their only aim being to eliminate them.
No, I'll die of a vaster, deeper, more cruel conspiracy by the ruler of my country who have made a certain knowledge between persons of different races not only impossible to achieve but positively dangerous even to attempt to acquire. They have made contact between the races a cause for profoundest alarm among white citizens.
I highly recommend, though it is loaded with sexual connotations. An adult read. Lewis Nkois was born 5th of December 1936 and died 5th of September 2010. I look forward to reading more of his novels. My version of the novel is the one published by St. Martin's Press New York, the first published in 1986.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Dew in the Morning, 1982, Shimmer Chinodya ***

I actually started reading "Dew in the Morning" in 2014 and finished in 2015. Narrated through the voice and eyes of a young boy, Godi. His parents not being able to afford to take care of him and his siblings in the city, send them along with their mother to live in the country side. For the most part, the novel is a narrative on Godi's coming of age in rural Zimbabwe and getting used to its custom, for instance; the dew in the morning, the rearing of cattle and farming. Not to forget the superstitious village people whose belief continuously baffle him. And how he aimed to win the heart of the girl he loves. His father remained in the city, alone, working very hard in order to send them to school. In my opinion the writer was in a way comparing the style of life in urban and rural Zimbabwe.
I am not sure if I really enjoyed this novel. Actually, it was a well written and easy narrative. Perhaps, it's the too much information about the rearing of cattle, ploughing and farming. Though, I totally understand they are part and parcel of rural life. Perhaps, it is simply because it is very young adult-oriented.

Dew in the Morning is Shimmer Chinodya first published novel, I look forward to reading more of his work not because I thoroughly enjoyed this book but because he won the 1990 Commonwealth Writers' Prize: Best Book, Africa with his novel Harvest of Thorns Though from its title it seems to be set in rural Zimbabwe too. I would also like to read his novel Can we talk and other Stories (1998), very well reviewed on African Book Addict.

My first novel read and reviewed in 2015, as well, an addition to my Reading African Writers Series Challenge. Lastly, I would like to point out that I love the painting on the book cover.

Have you read anything from Shimmer Chinodya? How was your reading experience? Do you recommend?

Sunday, 1 February 2015

New Book Release on February 3rd


E.C Osondu is the author of Voice of America his first published book in 2009, that won the Caine Prize for African Writing. Actually, Best short story by an African writer in the English language.  His second work will soon be released "This House Is Not for Sale" (His first novel).

From Goodreads

A powerful tale of family and community, This House Is Not for Sale brings to life an African neighbourhood and one remarkable house, seen through the eyes of a young member of the household. The house lies in a town seemingly lost in time, full of colourful, larger-than-life characters; at the narrative’s heart are Grandpa, the family patriarch whose occasional cruelty is balanced by his willingness to open his doors to those in need, and the house itself, which becomes a character in its own right and takes on the scale of legend. From the decades-long rivalry between owners of two competing convenience stores to the man who convinces his neighbours to give up their earthly possessions to prepare for the end of the world.

I am curious to see how he unravels in a novel since he is an awarded short story writer.

Do you look forward to reading this new novel?

Nigerian Writers Series

Please click here to read about the Nigerian Writers Series.

Below are Nigerian Writers Series novel you might be interested in and their brief synopsis.


 A roller coaster ride into the world of deceit, power, crime, politics and relationships. It is the story of two people from extreme worlds who decide to fight for their right to love each other against all odds. In the process, they find themselves on a quest for justice and become the hope of a nation that wishes to bring evil-doers to justice. While written with a political nuance and a plot that progresses fast, ‘Crimson clouds’ is ultimately a love story that explores love as it rises above difficult circumstances and triumphs in a world, turned upside down by greed and injustice.


In the heat of ethno-religious riot in Jos, Emeka and Hauwa are in love. Unknown to them, Hauwa is betrothed to Hassan, the head of the Shura of the Muslim Brotherhood sect. Meanwhile, Special Agent Sean Porter is on a mission to uncover a plot by the Muslim Brotherhood to deploy biological weapons. The weapons are traced to Jos. Things take an unexpected turn when Hassan stumbles upon Hauwa and Emeka in a compromising position.


Pededoo, a country boy, who struggles to maintain a civil relationship with his father who had just returned home after many years abroad with a family of Cat Eyes (a white family). But Pededoo is however hardly able to resist and truly dislike Melissa-Jane, that charming and dashing cat-eyed blond. Cat Eyes is a bildungsroman, a book of family, adventure, self-discovery and love that would take readers on a voyage they would hold dear.


A collection of twelve short stories set in Nigeria, depicting how love relationships often begin and blossom. From Lawrence who comes to Amina’srescue in Baggage to Love, until we meet Kate in Subtle Changes, who after the relief of her stepfather’s death, moves to her benefactor’s house and slowly loses her heart to Jude, Cupid keeps aiming and shooting, spinning this universal emotion as he pleases. The stories in this collection show us the many faces of love within life’s potpourri of laughter and pain. Above all, they urge us to keep believing in love despite all odds.


A collection of a dozen short stories that has just a bit of everything. From religious hypocrisy, marital infidelity and human deception and fraud, to spiritual mysteries, the limits of justice (in our land), the many and uncertain shades of love, and the redemptive value of suicide, Isaac Attah Ogezi skilfully and sensitively explores the human condition in its social, psychological and spiritual dimensions. The stories are both universal and uniquely individual as everyone can identify with one or another of the characters whose experiences are portrayed in The Threshing Floor. The author's mastery of language and power of narration will surely seduce any reader.


 A typical underdeveloped country bedevilled by corruption and sundry ills. Siella, the stubborn and self-willed daughter of the president is in the centre of the story. Siella refuses to school abroad, choosing instead to confront the rot in her home country. She becomes a victim of a high profile kidnap saga that brings her face to face with the rampaging evils that hold sway in the country she loves unflinchingly. When she meets the patriots, a group of deadly, dare-devil men, she is forced to see the other side of crime and to assess patriotism from a different angle. It is a story of love, crime, betrayal, corruption and above all, hope.


A moving account of a motherless Nigerian boy who is born in Cameroon and grows up with his father to become inextricably involved with the foreign surroundings in which he is birthed. But a sudden relocation into a supposed ‘Land of Promise’ soon casts a terrible cloud upon him and the bliss he once experienced abruptly turns into nightmares, a shocking experience from which he never recovers. The result is a gripping work of art – a work of art committed to its artistic values. The author, with remarkable deftness, takes his readers on a gripping voyage from Cameroon to the West African nation of Nigeria to produce a literary piece which is unputdownable.


 A young writer goes in search for his missing father who had been lost even before he was born. He will shuttle between the past and his present to answer some of the most disturbing questions: Where is my father and why don’t I know him? And why is society disrespecting my mother because she is a single mother? In his quest to answer these questions, the Ijaw and Niger-Delta social life is presented to the world in a lush narrative, and at the end of the writer’s quest he learns that some mysteries are better not unravelled. He is faced with love, migration, loss, history, and finally learns the art of forgiveness, the only password to shut out a haunting past.

Ojeiva Jumbo, a poor school teacher, who realises he needs to get involved in partisan politics and secure power to save his people from the onslaught of poverty, violence and illiteracy in the fictional state of Azayi State.  But this power does not come free as he requires assistance and connection of a powerful Godfather. Jumbo is made to take an oath to reward his Godfather financially when he becomes the governor but he will break this oath, drawing the ire of forces hell-bent on destroying him. Jumbo will, however, survive plots against him, and work hard to fulfil his mission in the government in this suspenseful political thriller.


 A group of young military officers, who under the leadership of Brigadier Saleem Sa’ada, strike and overthrow the regime of General Danjuma. The new military government designs a five year transition programme to shift power to a democratically elected government. As the elections approach, the UPP, a political party, lobbies Sameera, a radical writer and journalist, to accept its presidential ticket. After a heated race, Sameera emerges victorious. She will instantly become a world political figure and set about to actualise her vision of a united economically and politically vibrant African continent.

I have not read any of them yet. Have you read them? if so what is your opinion? If not, do you look forward to reading any? 
Thank you Hannah Onoguwe for drawing my attention to the Nigerian Writers Series of the Association of Nigerian Authors.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Head Above Water, 1986, Buchi Emecheta ****

With this review it goes without saying that Buchi Emecheta is one of my favourite writers. As you might have observed, you would guess I have taken on a mission to peruse all of her works. Before you read Head Above Water, I sincerely recommend that you read her first novels in the following order, if possible, at a go "In The Ditch", Second-Class Citizen, The Bride Price and the Joys Of Motherhood.

Head Above Water is a non-fiction autobiography, most of her stories are, anyway. If you are used to her novels, you'll remember her father died when she was really young. As a teenager she spent most of her time (even her holidays) in boarding school. Following that, she married a man who immediately moved to the UK after leaving her pregnant twice.  She had her first two children in Nigeria before she decided to relocate to the UK to join her husband who is forever a student. Her husband did not welcome her with open arms (as she has expected) instead he abused her, left her pregnant three more times before abandoning her with a total of five children. Buchi Emecheta was only 22 years old then, if not less. She lived on social welfare, brought up her children alone, went to university and became a professional writer. All at the same time, with little or no help. In fact, she succeeded in moving herself and her children up from the bottom of the ladder.

Head Above Water is an enjoyable read, however, since it was an autobiography I felt she should have gone into details about her personal life. For instance, her relationship with her late daughter, Chiedu, and her subsequent death. She dedicated this book to her. However, she never mentioned what or how she died of. First of all, I am fully aware that "the death or loss of a child" will always be a difficult topic to expound on. In my opinion, however, I believe it is so significant it shouldn't be left out in an autobiography. Also, she stated that "The Joys of Motherhood", my favourite novel by the way, (and her best seller which earned her her fame) was written straight away after a tumultuous quarrel with her late daughter. Now, you may understand why I might be interested in circumstances surrounding her death.

Buchi Emecheta is what I would call an emotional writer. Writing to her is therapeutic especially during those difficult days. I know she has always wanted to be a writer even before she got married and started having children. However, her "In The Ditch" days (as she calls it in Head Above Water) somewhat evoked the desire and emotion to write in a kind of way that she would not have done in different circumstances. She is a survivor and my inspirational figure. An enjoyable read that I recommend.
Another writer who I consider to be my inspirational figure is Ishmael Beah author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

With this I end my reviews for the year 2014.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

2014 Book of the Year


Clikc here to read my review

Have you heard of Abdulrazak Gurnah before? Have you read any of his novels? I highly recommend By The Sea. Please, read it and let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Festus Iyayi R.I.P

Festus Iyayi author of the novel that I was reading in the pictures below passed away on the 12th of November 2013.





He was involved in a car accident with the convoy of a State Governor, Idris Wada (Kogi State, in the central region of Nigeria). Late Festus Iyayi was actually on his way to attend a meeting regarding a University strike. It is a pity he died in  such a way. First African writer to win the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best Book Overall, in 1988. 

Please click here to read my review of his novel.

I look forward to reading more of his works.

Sorry, this is coming late, I just found out.

2014 Reading Highlights

It is difficult to do my  2014 top must read simply because I only read  15 novels and among the 15 books I read, only one was 5 Stars rated.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


I know, I remember my words:
"the sense of disconnectedness in Ifemelu's (interesting) blog posts was evident. I also felt that the writer (Chimamanda) was unrelenting in how she intervened in the telling of the story, I would have much more loved to reach conclusions myself. Furthermore, this novel should not have been that long, Adichie could have wanted to save her opinion in a collection of essays like Chinua Achebe did in The Education of a British-Protected Child. So said, Americanah was neither mind-blowing nor about anything in particular". 
However this novel was still a page-turner and a highly gripping read.



As a debut writer she really impressed, I highly recommend.




This novel is a good example of what it means to have a strong story to tell, narrate it engagingly with a beautiful poetical writing. It was a very well written novel in all ways.

Which will make my book of the year 2014? Please make a guess; Americanah, We Need New Names or By The Sea?

By the way, have you read the three novels? If yes, what is your opinion?



Saturday, 3 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello ladies and gentlemen,
the year 2014 was fantastic and I am absolutley grateful, though I did not read as much as I would have loved to. Click here to find out why. I read a total of 15 books.

 

 

 

 


Please click on the links below, in order to read their reviews
  1. The Rape of Sita by Lindsey Collen (Mauritius)
  2. Houseboy by  Ferdinand Oyono (Cameroon)
  3. The Hangman's Replacement by Taona Dumisani Chiveneko (Zimbabwe)
  4. We Need New Names by Noviolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)
  5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigerian)
  6. Unwinding Thread Women in Africa  (Charlotte H. Bruner). Collection of stories
  7. By The Sea by  Abdulrazak Gurnah (Tanzania)
  8. The Consequences of Love by Sulaiman Addonia (Ethiopia)
  9. Cloth Girl by Marilyn Heward Mills (Ghana)
  10. Three Strong Women by Marie Ndiaye (Senegal-France)
  11. The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini (Zimbabwe)
  12. Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela (Sudan)
  13. Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)
  14. A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe (Nigerian)
  15. Head Above Water by Buchi Emecheta (Nigerian)
What about you? How was your reading in 2014? I hope it was better than mine.

Happy New Reading 2015



Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Anthills of the Savannah, 1987, Chinua Achebe ****

"Anthills of The Savannah" is Chinua Achebe's sixth published work I have read so far. In my opinion, if  this prolific writer was born in a different era, he would have written differently. He did not write for the sake of writing instead he wrote because he felt the dire need to put into writing the history and need of his own people through their own eyes. The Europeans who wrote about Africans at that time simply glorified themselves. Hence, writing was his weapon to fight against all sort of oppression and repression, be it colonial or military dictatorship. As a matter of fact, most of his writings are some sort of codified messages. He always wants one to think and reflect in order to reach their own conclusion. So, he breaks it down in stories, which makes it easier to grasp. Late Chinua Achebe (to me) was a revolutionary and philanthropic writer.

"Anthills of the Savannah" is another work of his that narrates on the dictatorship and suppression of human rights of an invented state, I believe to be Nigeria. Three childhood friends that thought they were the three musketeers; Sam, Chris and Ikem. Chris left his position as the editor in chief of the national newspaper to help his friend Sam set up a government he headed following a coup d'état. Ikem the poet and the most literary of the three, took up Chris' position because he (Chris) was promoted to Commissioner for Information. As the story unfolds, Sam's power went right to his head and he became paranoid, Chris was fully aware that this political circus was not what he bargained for; nonetheless, he preferred to bask in the glow and comfort of his political position. Ikem did what he knew best,  write and give lectures in order to open the people's eyes but the people were not ready to open their eyes. Almost everyone in Kangan was corrupt to the core with a complete distortion of reality and motivated by self-interest. Here are some interesting quotes from the novel that kind of sum up what I meant.
"Agatha who was so free with leaflets dripping with the saving blood of Jesus and yet had no single drop of charity in her own anaemic blood"
"Charity, he thundered is the opium of the privileged;.....While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary".
The beginning of the novel was not an easy read, maybe a bit too political? I read and re-read just to make sure I was getting it clear. However, if you manage to go pass that, there is a whole lot of political tension, intrigue and love story to enjoy. Mind you, it is a serious adult read that was  nominated for the 1987 Man Booker Prize. I recommend to all lovers of politics, history and most importantly all lovers of Chinua Achebe's writings like me.

*His other novels I have read are Things fall apart, No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, The Education of a British Protected Child, A Man of the People
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