Wizard of the Crow

Title: Wizard of the Crow

Author:  Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Published by: Harvill Secker

Publication year: 2006

 

Written in Kikuyu and translated into English by the author, Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong’o will not disappoint anyone familiar with the author’s prolific body of work. This work of fiction sears with truth and lays bare the international foibles of postcolonial African politics. Pregnant with humour and irony, this allegory leaves nothing sacred as when one of the characters is cured of the disease of white-ache. It is a most human story examining both the character of leadership and the desires of the common citizen. Farcical characters become believable, while women, especially, are portrayed with complexity. The story challenges many stereotypes. For example, the main character, the Wizard of the Crow, is a witchdoctor or traditional healer or (~frochiatrist)(p. 622), and proves to be the voice of reason and sanity. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves storytelling or is interested in international relations and African culture and society.

The story tells of a megalomaniacal African ruler with a grandiose development scheme surrounded by conniving sycophants obsessed with greed who try to control the masses and outmanoeuvre each other. The trials of these politicos are interwoven with a love story involving the Wizard of the Crow and an underground activist posing as a secretary. The roles of thinly disguised entities such as the Global Bank also figure into this brazen expose of the (politics of poverty) (p. 87), while many other novel characters populate the landscape such as the (professors of parrotology) (p. 572).

The work is cynical, critical, insightful, and inspiring. Describing the fictional place, Ngugi writes, (If there were no beggars in the streets, tourists might start doubting whether Aburiria was an authentic African country) (p. 35). Contrast this with the line, (The world has no soul) (p. 62). The calcu180 Journal for Global Initiatives (Many a government in the world has been brought to ruin because it has been lax and allowed students, youth, and women to say and do whatever without proper guidance and supervision” (p. 557). And Ngugi observes, (Disorder reigned supreme, for any attempt on the part of the people to organise themselves was deemed by the Ruler’s government as a challenge to its authority” (p. 576). Describing the actions of one of the rich and successful political appointees, he writes, (How does one find humor in humiliating the already humiliated?” (p. 383). He also asks, (Why does needy Africa continue to let its wealth meet the needs of those outside its borders and then follow behind with hands outstretched for a loan of the very wealth it let go?” (p. 681). He also states, (It will not do for any region or community to keep silent when the people of another region and community are being slaughtered” (p. 726).

There is so much to highlight in this wide-ranging engaging story that no review could possibly do it justice. Don’t let the book’s size or the author’s reputation intimidate you. It’s a fun, easy read, and you may learn a lot. As always, Ngugi places the primary burden of resolving Africa’s maladies solely on Africa without shying away from the complex, detrimental influence of the colonial past. The question of whether Africa will experience globalisation as the latest reincarnation of an oppressive colonial past or participate actively as a contributing voice of reason may in some small part be presaged through the reception of this telling book. Thank you for this gift of a book and for holding up a mirror in which to exorcise so many daemons.

Credit: Daniel Paracka, Journal of Global Initiative.

 

Arrow of God

Book Title: Arrow of God

Author: Chinua Achebe

Publisher: Heinemann

Publication year: 1964

 

After his first bestselling novel, Things fall apart which almost caused an unresolved discourse between American hip-hop star 50 cent, and Nigerian author Chinua Achebe goes on to publish another mind blowing Novel by the title, The Arrows of god. The Arrows of God also went on to make name for itself just like it’s predecessors. It takes off with a plot built on Nigeria’s colonial administration with an expanded view into Igbo tribal life.

Ezeulu is the priest he also is the arrow of Ulu, the god of the village of Umuaro. The village relatively isolated from colonial administration largely goes about its business undisturbed but intrusions do take place. One such earned Ezeulu the trust of Winterbottom, a trust that is to prove damaging later. Another – peripherally – is the intrusion of Christianity in the form of a church established near Umuaro by one John Goodcountry, a church to which Ezeulu sent one of his own sons to be his spy, but on the long run this son of his became a Christian hereby causing the son to disconnect from his father and embracing Christianity, a faith he begins to adopt as his own with increasing dedication.

Another encounter which was the third affecting Ezeulu directly comes with the building of a road. The administration decides to bring in unpaid labour in order to hasten the project onwards, and another of Ezeulu’s sons is volunteered as one of the labourers. A wayward lad, given to sloth and overindulgence in the local beverage, he turns up late for work with a hangover and taunts the overseer with his attitude. The overseer, an Englishman, beats him severely for doing so.

Ezeulu, then, is not as well disposed to the colonial administration as he might be when Winterbottom decides to set Ezeulu up as a local chief in the area following the policy of indirect rule whereby trusted locals take positions of authority on the administration’s behalf. He summons Ezeulu to attend him, such summons always being delivered by locals who, running the administration’s errands, cannot resist using their position to levy taxes and to gain benefits by making demands with the supposed authority of the administration itself. Their arrogance in delivering their message further compounds Ezeulu’s negativity and, moreover, they do not know the basis upon which the summons has been made, further frustrating Ezeulu who finds the summons peremptory. Ezeulu resists, refuses on the basis that a man in his position is not to be summoned in this fashion, but fellow villagers not wishing to offend the white administration prevail upon him to attend.

He arrives to find Winterbottom indisposed by illness and a deputy, less familiar with the situation in Nigeria and not knowing Ezeulu at all, has the task of making the offer. Ezeulu refuses, and the deputy imprisons him out of irritation, and in the hope, he may be able to persuade him in that way. Here, Ezuelu’s absence from the village becomes important. With each new moon, he eats one of a dozen yams from the previous year. When these are used up, he announces the new harvest of yams but, in his absence, yams have gone uneaten. When he returns, then, for the ritual to play itself out, the harvest is fatally delayed. There is some question here in my mind whether Ezuelu is pedantic about this merely given his dedication to the ritual, or whether irritation with his fellow villagers at sending him on his demeaning mission plays a part. The ambiguity may have arisen from my o’er-hasty reading, but it does seem Achebe focuses upon the latter when Ezuelu first makes his decision, the former as events work their way through as a consequence. Either way, Ezuelu is adamant.

Goodcountry, the priest, sees an opportunity. He puts it about that if the villagers bring offerings of yams to his own harvest festival, the Christian God will protect the villagers from the wrath of Ulu and so they can bring in their harvest. Many of the villagers prove reluctant to abandon their traditions in this way, though their plight is severe, and Goodcountry offers them a solution. However, Ezuelu is to suffer yet again when one of his favoured sons, in temporary ill-health, is prevailed upon to undertake a strenuous activity at a funeral ritual. It is too much for him, and he dies.

Ezuelu is now a broken man and, the arrow of Ulu, the villagers see a broken god. We know that their abandonment of the old ways for Christianity is now inevitable.

Whether or not Achebe intends his readers to see the book in this light I do not know, but for me, this is a story of the unintended consequences of power, and the inevitability of its leading those over whom it holds sway into the ways of those who wield it. Winterbottom may be content for the villagers to continue with their traditions so long as they cooperate with the administration, but that very cooperation has consequences. The fact it is able to simply commandeer labour brings tensions, and it is only able to do so because of the awe in which the administration is held, however that may or may not be acknowledged. That is a tension that must be resolved. Moreover, no local aware of the ways of the tribe would have kept the priest away from the identification of the new moon and disrupted the annual ritual. In other words, the two cultures can exist side by side only in temporary stasis. Even with the best of intentions not that I am claiming the best of intentions for British colonial rule in Nigeria overall the dominating culture must prevail and usurp its predecessor. The tensions are too great between them, and the more powerful culture will inevitably win out as the old, perforce, fails to live in harmony with it, even if the disharmony is unrecognised by the usurping culture and its actions in bringing it to the fore are unintentional.

This is one work of fiction I love but may not quite understand too well it’s contradicting plot or should I say plot complexity. It is although a good read for anyone craving to know more about the missionary move to the eastern part of Nigeria and the corresponding response of indigenes to the worship of purportedly unknown God.

Remember the Morning

remember-the-morning

Book title: Remember the Morning

Author: Thomas

Fleming

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates Inc

Publication year: 1997

 

Thomas Fleming in this book, Remember the Morning, sets the foundational brick of an American classic and historical series, a saga that fires into one’s imagination and stays with you for a long time after you read it. It is a stunning book with two dramatic and powerful women, radically different yet bound together by heritage, experience, circumstance, in a blazing tale that plumbs morality as brilliantly as it illuminates a crucial part of American past.

Clara and Catalyntie both lost their parents while they were young (arguably I think while they were 5), they were killed by some Indians who captured them with Catalyntie’s two older siblings – Peter and Eva, who both died in captivity. While in captive, Clara the black young woman was treated like a princess while the other white captive was made to eat poorly. The book further narrows down into how these young women were made to suffer at the hands of their captors at a time they knew little or nothing     – After a number of years, the young women were part of a treaty that results in them being turned over to the white people. (This brought another “complication,” as one of the girls was actually a slave–but didn’t even know it.) The book gives that background and then moves into what happens to the young women as they enter the world of the white man. Catalyntie seems to be focused on material things as to the opposite of who Clara is, who is more disposed at giving help to others.

This is a book into the life and times of America and Americans with much of historical allusions in a story set primarily in 1700’s New York City. I guess most of some non-enthusiastic readers would have skimmed through some of the war sections in this book, I know it might just look boring to them. Though, an insight into the plots of the book will give readers a concise account into American history of the classics. Intertwined in the lives of the main characters is rich vivid history. French, Dutch, English,

African and Indians all played a part in creating America.

Remember the Morning helps explain how life was after the English took over from the Dutch. France and England fought over the land, trading rights and even the Indians. The Africans struggled for their freedom while they remain the major race that helped in gathering the ‘wealth’ we’re seeing in America today. The Catholics worshipped in secret and wished for their own freedom. Fleming writes wonderfully. He’s taken the facts of American history and made them the background to a good story. You hardly realise that you’re learning something until it hits you hard like a tornado. Not to worry, Fleming is such a distinguished historian with vast history into the making of a nation where it takes root from.

I will gladly recommend this book if you’re a historical fiction enthusiast and even a student given to historical account would want to learn more about pre-revolutionary America.

Six Seconds

 

six-seconds

Book title: Six Seconds

Author: Rick Mofina

Publisher: MIRA

Publication year: 2009

The opening prologue of Six Seconds will give you chills and sets up the novel for a relentless, mind-blowing and captivating resolution into a detective action to uncover some highly sensitive suicidal causes. Six seconds, ticking fast, so fast very fast so many lives are attached to it for survival or death, vengeance, religion or even in the case of redemption. Just in short lots of lives seems to be at stake.

The sudden disappearance of both husband and most especially her son wouldn’t give Maggie Conlin a senior associate bookseller peace until she gets to the root of the sudden disappearance of his spouse and son. The story unfolds into a detailed exploration of detective findings on crime and searches into causes of murder. In unveiling the whereabout of her son’s disappearance, Maggie Sort for help from different places, few helped, and some gave up along the way while others refused to. But above all, she never gave up believing her son is alive, likewise nursing the hope that she can save her marriage despite finding out he (her husband) might be cheating on her.

Daniel Graham, a cop detective who just lost his wife and unborn child was planning to take his own life. He believes he killed his wife by sleeping on the wheel while they were returning from the theatre and now he seems guilty of the death of his wife and wouldn’t be focused on his detective assignment and most especially when he’d lots of cases to deal with. Having to meet with Maggie was a bit of a twist to this narration. Maggi’s husband is missing and a nine year old son is nowhere to be found, also we have here Detective Daniel Graham whose wife is dead alongside an unborn child. The two cases bring to mind a close similarity when also bringing Samara’s ordeal with the Iraqi terrorist who abused her. It is of some sort a good threesome which was in a way related to each other in building up the plot in this story. If we’re to examine the cases of unborn child dead (Detective Graham), a missing child and husband (Maggie Conlin), and the case of Samara’s immediate family, one will think Rick Mofina did a good job. And now bringing Samara to the case, we can say categorically that the tension builds up well into a suspenseful fiction.

In writing a thriller and most especially a detective crime fiction, an author has got to know his or her onions well before diving into it. Having a good knowledge of crime and detective terminologies in analyzing causes of crimes, causalities and attack or even death makes crime fiction juicy and appealing to the eyes for reading. It makes every pages of the crime fiction stand out. In cases of wanting to uncover the secret to a crime committed, the author himself became the crime in question in order to get to the root of the matter. Rick’s inquisitive order of drawing on his hypothesis helped the mind of his reading audience get to understand the nature of certain casualties of crime committed. Without doubt, you will all agree with me that, questioning is all what detective operations is all about, and getting to the root of a story, case or crime, whichever is most appropriate, a detective’s mind has always been consciously programmed to ask questions. And here is what we have Rick Mofina establish in this six seconds of grueling but choice making Six seconds encounter with life and death when Graham was keeping records at the Tarvers campsite.

The beauty of this book lies in the author’s ability to take his reader on a precise journey, though that which they (readers) know not the destination. How? His unique use of words and the gradual unexpected unveiling of actions arrested the mind of the readers, leaving them to want to know what comes up next. You call that suspense right? Of course, it is.

In a nutshell, this work is a terrifying novel that cuts across a group of people, countries and continents. Six Seconds is a story of war, vengeance and terrorism. It explores terrorism in Iraq and its damaging affect on everyone involved from soldiers to terrorists to the innocent and the repercussions that are felt long afterwards. It is the story of painful loss, guilt and redemption sought by people who are worlds apart and separated by culture and personal beliefs. Do you want a rollercoaster –like a suspense thriller, and here you have it six seconds, a perfect prescription where your salivating reading pleasure is concerned.

Highway Queen

highway-queen

 

 

Book title: Highway Queen

Author:  Virginia Phiri

Published by: Corals Services

Publication year: 2010

 

When the bakery from where a family enjoys a wholesome consumption of fresh bake gets burnt to rubbles, then the means of sustenance might probably be a thing of the past.

Virginia Phiri opens the pages of this mind blowing piece with the story of a family whose means of survival rest solely on a husband (Steven) who all of a sudden was retrenched due to some financial upheaval at his workplace. And without thinking, all in the name of making ends meet for her family, Sophie Mumba the wife of the retrenched worker and the lead character in this story seek for a greener pasture doing the incredible. Just as anyone probably would have guessed, it never came cool. Having not enough with her was a good privilege for some ill-hearted men who helped but took advantage of this helpless woman from a squatter camp.

Steven seems not to be responsible. Even though some life threatening situation had tortured him ruthlessly, it still shouldn’t have translated into drinking to stupor or seeing a way out of a mess and ignoring it. Being the head of the family demands lot of work and leadership role, this thus will make a hardworking wife like Sophie go gaga when her husband who ought to be complementing her industrious effort, fails at performing his own part and even had the effrontery to complain about inadequacies of finance and food, (what happened to meat? We’re tired of vegetables!) See pg 81. The author carefully establishes that fact when she tells of Sophie’s grievance towards her hubby’s excessive drinking habit and his lackadaisical attitudes to get any job.

Getting always in the way of having sexual intercourse with several men has now become the way out for Sophie (after her first experience with the truck drivers at the border) who previously had promised not to engage herself in such an illicit act on Pg 73. Even while the story of several people dying of AIDS went viral in the squatter camp, it won’t in any way teach her any lesson. She went further to expand her sex merchandising business by having another unprotected sex on Pg 86, making another stupid pledge of hers.  I convinced myself that would be the last time I exchanged my body for… Of course, you all read about the result of her sex escapade.

As there were many deaths at the camp, we had our own graveyard… This statement sets a tone of ill-predictions, obscure future and poverty. For people to think about death even before it willingly arrives is one crazy thing anyone can ever imagine. Well in a situation where sexually transmitted disease flies all around like a kite, two things should be put in place. You’d either use protection or prepare your final place of rest, six feet beneath the earth.

 

 All I saw were sad faces, people who moved up and down like zombie…

Restless children cry on their mother’s back…

Pieces of furniture suitcases, bicycles, scotch carts and other household effects were all over the place.

These phrases tell of the emotional torture once hut owners at the camp felt. The anguish dwellers suffered was well expressed for a vivid view here. Virginia did well buttressing her point here with vivid imagery into what seems unpleasant for these city camp dwellers. She made us feel the suffering of the people, their pain and the effect of the displacement suffered at the camp through adjectives and some necessary figures of speech which ensured the conformation of the sentences to suit the author’s intended purpose. Even though Sophie’s family had left the camp for residency in the village, she still connects to the camp, advocates for HIV and AIDS, that’s why she can’t help but attend to the needs of the dying people.

Carefully setting in the Republic of Zimbabwe, the author did her best bringing what could be means of livelihood for women whose effort to cater for their families were been thwarted by incoherency of economic strategies coupled with what seems to be a bleak future. Virginia’s connection to the suffering of the African women-folk here is quite clear enough to be understood here after several deployments of literary ‘tools’.

This is yet another good piece which educates the populace well on the subject of HIV and AIDS after the order of Albert Nyathi’s ‘Ten Conversations to end AIDS’. I think Zimbabweans are really making headway, combating this sniper virus which has claimed thousands of lives in recent time. The Highway Queen is a story which digs deep into the mind and sufferings of an average African woman who finds herself in a dilemma she wouldn’t initially have thought of. A good read it is for everyone who cares to know.

Beyond Mere Words

beyond-mere

 

Book title: Beyond Mere Words

Author: Jane Silverwood

Publisher: Harlequin Super romance

Publication year: 1988

 

Lawyers are very crafty, analytic and could also be referred to as good legal-case drivers. Their arguments are always spiced with proofs and choices to pick from where the final decision of the judge is concerned. And then when a legal practitioner woos a lady of his choice, what will you expect?  Adam’s careful proposal to Francy and his bait-like offers presented should be well applauded in the whole of this book. His careful use of words and patience deployed to getting innocent Italian Francy was quite laudable for what some may call a sharp shooter’s approach to getting the big game. He had carefully lined up activities even before the days unfold for Francy up to a point where she was totally hooked and couldn’t let go. Well if I may say, it was a struggle that was really worth it, had Francy changed her mind, and then it would have been another thing light-hearted Prosecutor from Howard County will have to battle with for the rest of his bachelor’s life.

Jane’s act of switching too swiftly from one scene to another might be too much in a haste leaving less detail to feast on. From my end, I may say she’s not taking enough time to flesh out each scene before birthing it forth and ten taking on a new one. This was quite vivid in several portions of the book and on Pg 167 where Adam invited Francy to go with him on a vac to Bermuda, and then the author wouldn’t establish this well on Pg 177. Maybe it was just an intentional act to conceal some details but I actually was waiting for her to immerse the reader’s mind into more about Bermuda before eventually embarking on the aeroplane. My opinion, though.

Living with a reading disability like dyslexia (became one central theme determining the progress of Francy’s portion of the story) is one big problem for Francy as she just couldn’t read. Telling Adam even was one big problem for her even though Theresa had told her to explain things to him hoping he would understand. And now with the love in the air, Ben Chalett’s view about Francy’s background, Patricia Pearce’s wanting to know who her daughter-in-law is and Adam’s political ambition at stake, one might just be a bit confused which way to go.

I strongly think Jane did an awesome work building up more tension, drama on Francy’s dyslexic condition and how it affected some other people in this story’s past. The way it linked to Jerry’s inability to read, Adam’s  grade three mate and dyslexia being common amongst the Raseras was one good way this story builds up to be captivating. Francy who becomes the main character to which this dyslexic syndrome was concentrated soon becomes an object of pity when she had a challenge with the onboard restroom on Ben Chalett’s yacht, and then negotiating if she could stay through the day without easing herself. The problem was just too much for her to bear. If privileged to come onto the scene, I would have advised she let go of the fear and tell Adam the truth about her reading disability.

Though Jane did a good job putting ‘Beyond Mere Words’ in our hands coupled with the fact that it does make a good romantic fiction, but some few inadequacies could be corrected in her future works. Inadequacies such as on Pg 281 and towards the end paragraph where Barbara Kains used the word ‘Release’ instead of ‘discharge’ which seems to be the most appropriate professional jargon in the medical world. I also pondered on the fact that there ought to be a bit of a rivalry or simply put drama between Barbara and Francy. You know, I was actually wondering why Patricia would send Barbara over to straighten issues with Francy. Why Barbara?

Learning to live with killing attempts may be one prevalent issue for politicians around the globe, and I pretty take delight in the first strike on Adams. It caught the reader’s attention, caused us to go into suspense, pondering what could happen next to Adam. I can tell every reader was shocked reading that this renowned and successful prosecutor of Howard County was shot.

This work made a good romantic fiction and was a good read if I may say.

The Awakened Mage

 

awakened-mage

 

Book title: The Awakened Mage

Author: Karen Miller

Publisher: Orbit

Publication year: 2007

 

I’d likened The Awakened Mage to a TV series in 2008 by the title ‘Merlin’. There is so much resemblance to the characters in The Awakened Mage and the storyline in Merlin. Two Kingdoms played a significant role in the progression of this story by Karen Miller. The Olken and the Doranen. The Olken were the original owner of the land but were scattered all around. The Doranen came with Barl their leader, running away from what has become an evil mage Morg. The Doranen saw that the land was good but the weather was so bad that their farmers were suffering and wouldn’t get a good yield. Both kingdoms went into an agreement. The Olken will do magic no longer while the Doranen will continue doing magic. Generations of Olken born after believed they had no magic, but the prophecy was spoken and the expected Mage who will bring the people out of their trouble was born. As expectantly as possible, some members of the circle had awaited the time for the fulfilment of this prophesy, and finally, the Mage spoken of in this prophecy was eventually identified, though by few people. And then comes Asher of Restharvan.

Asher (the innocent mage) in this story played a significant role, partly in decision making and also as an adviser in his own way in the kingdom of Lur though directly to Prince Gar who later became the king. He was the fate of the kingdom, this which was only known to some few people but of course by members of the circle and the evil Mage himself. Gar being a crowned prince and an apparent heir to the throne of his father, never initially possess any magic (possessing magic is one basic quality any King that will rule in Lur should have) whatsoever but instead, his sister had (this she used in oppressing his brother who seems not to have one). But just as fate will take charge of the turns of event in the story, and after the death of his family, Gar realised he was beginning to have magic, which initially couldn’t take control of. The role of Asher being the protagonist in the story made him to solely determine the rightful placement of the story’s jigsaw, which means without his pictorial part in this ‘puzzle’ there will be a problem getting the puzzle in its right place.

Just as Asher is the Innocent Mage (The Kingmaker), we also have in this mind blowing story the Awakened Mage (The Kingbreaker), in the person of Morg. Morg has always been opposing the coming of Asher who is the destiny of the kingdom of Lur. His goal in the continuation part of this story by Karen Miller is to bring down the wall surrounding the kingdom of Lur built by his lover Barl, years back down.

Karen Miller did a wonderful work bringing into play a work of fiction with a good blend of European tradition, voodoo and magic to tell a tale of a kingdom dividing even while her leaders were still alive. The use of ancient craft, architecture, clothing and even words helps in communicating the story in an understandable way which can hardly be resisted. In a nutshell, the Awakened Mage is all about the final identification of an innocent mage whose personality has been revealed longtime ago even before he was born in a prophecy by a naïve man who will do anything if it means saving the kingdom. This is a good read, rich in culture and garnished with a good salivating taste of a European culture that can’t be resisted. It is a journey back into ancient times where the traditions of the people meant a lot to them up to the extent of playing a lead role in determining the way things are done.

I extend my Special appreciation to my friend Joy Frank for co-reviewing this with me. Sincerely I love the joy deployed into this review. (Lol)

Yetunde –An Ode to my Mother

Book title: Yetunde –An Ode to my Mother

Author’s name: Segilola Salami

Published by: Segilola Publishing

Publication year: 2016

 

If a babe really speaks this way, I would have given this laptop I type with to my one year old nephew Joshua, but of course this is an author’s fictitious expression of an infantile admiration for her mother’s care.

 

The author sets this work in a city in London and precisely in the mind of a little girl-child by the name Yetunde. Segilola Salami can be somewhat strict in the way she communicates the thoughts of Yetunde, a nine months old infant. But then the reality boils down to the fact that , having her think all these by herself can only be fictitious, entertaining (what any fictional writer does), but never to be imagined. It is an author’s intentional hijacking of the mind of a toddler.

 

Amongst the Yoruba descent and when we talk about mother to infant relationship, there is this time in the formative months of an infant when the mother speaks to her child, words meant to be understood only by older kids (see page 8 of 36). Telling little Yetunde about the cultures of the Yoruba race at her ninth month seems never too early. Yeah of course, the best time to start instilling the cultural heritage of one’s nativity. Though an infant will not come to the knowledge of all these teachings so soon but then, when these words continuously reiterates, the tender mind of the child begins to absorb and eventually speaks out to everyone’s awe someday.

 

A wonderful story progression here. Forsaking the Yetunde to whom the story is been told, the art of storytelling still remains one great way through which African heritage has been preserved over the years. The author did her best here telling innocent Yetunde (who can hardly reply the good compliments of a caring mother or clearly understands what mother is rattling. But the obvious fact is that she is listening to all of this story progression) about the Yoruba folk’s myth about Yemoja. There was a brilliant cinematic allusion here (see page 25 of 36), where the author makes mention of the last airbender in the movie, Avatar. Those who has seen this movie and understands it will identify well enough the part played by Katara a waterbender and Yemoja’s mystical use of water as an instrument of warfare just as she prescribes for Yetunde mum’s use.

 

A clever conveyance of poetic citations at the latter part of this book. It tells your reader that you really understands what an Ode is. You wouldn’t have done it better excluding poetry. This is quite educating, the fact that it dives into the historical and mythical heritage of the Yoruba folks makes it so. It would just have been interesting if all those little kids or say nine months infant can really speak and think out loud like their friend Yetunde. Segilola was creative in this one, giving voice to this innocent leader of tomorrow making us initially wonder why she would have written such a story. It won’t be bad to see more of your works you know?

Things fall Apart

Book title : Things fall Apart

Author: Chinua Achebe

Published by: Heinemann publishers

Publication year: First Published 1958

things fall apart

After reading Things fall apart by one of Nigeria’s renown writer, I got to understand the two intertwining stories Chinua Achebe told with ease. The first which centers
around Okonkwo, a “strong man” belonging to an Igbo (Ibo) ancestry in eastern part of Nigeria and the second, the missionary movement in the ancient village of Umuofia. The first of this story traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society. The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world through the
arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries which wouldn’t co-relate with certain ritual prone traditional practices in Umuofia. These two sagas perfectly harmonizes, an awareness capable of gathering at once a rural native life, nature expectations and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.

This is one book of several contrasts I have ever read. It brings in a story, the marriage of colonialism, native culture, animism and Christianity. Masculinity was also never exempted. The author brings it more in the quest to showcase Okonkwo’s manly ego over the women folks.

 Achebe did justice to this character by epitomizing Okonkwo who is the most intriguing character in this African fiction for an abusive, misogynist, who has little patience for the weak, and perhaps his over-ambitious nature. Despite all his faults, his struggles to uphold the traditional practices of his people. But it’s still possible to cast an iota of pity on him after his valiant displays of a true descendant of his ancestors even up to the point of death.

Achebe did brilliantly in this work of fiction by cleverly driving home his story-line with the right visuals and loads of African proverbs in his reservoir of knowledge, no wonder the Europeans got to understand him better on the basis of his clever use of words. I though stand to be corrected, but I’m of the opinion that, no other book of history summarizes the pre-colonial ways, tradition and culture of the Ibo descent and even Africa like Things Fall apart does. Chinua Achebe did justice to all you need to know in this masterpiece, no wonder the celebration of his death was enormous, second to none in the funeral history of his country.

Things Fall Apart is one good novel you need stock in your library and even if you’ve got it already, ain’t nothing bad in buying for someone else.

The Innocent Mage

I Mage 51GQrGubwxL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Book title: The Innocent Mage

Author’s name: Karen Miller

Published by: Orbit Books

Publication year: 2005

 

The kingdom of Lur is where to use magic unlawfully means death, summary death. Doranen have ruled Lur with magic since arriving as refugees centuries back. Theirs was desperate flight to escape the wrath of a powerful mage who started a bitter war in their homeland, so to keep Lur safe, the native Olken inhabitants agreed to abandon their own magic. Magic is now forbidden them, and any who break this law was executed.

Asher left his coastal village to make his fortune. Employed in the royal stables, he soon finds himself befriended by Prince Gar and given more money and power than he’d never dreamt possible. But the Olken have a secret; the prophecy. The Innocent Mage will save Lur from destruction and members of the Circle have dedicated themselves to preserving Olken magic until this day arrives. Unbeknownst to Asher, he has been watched closely. As the Final Days approaches, his life takes a new and unexpected turn.

Karen miller did quite a lot research here bringing to present ancient customs and traditions of an old European kingdom in the time of magic. Karen Miller’s creativity on the use of magic related vocabulary coupled with certain fishing technologies helped drive home her point for the better understanding of what she was actually portraying in this book.

The Innocent Mage. Truly the Mage (Asher) was ignorance of what his coming meant to the people, but the observing folks of the Circle knew him, pretended to have welcomed him and paid more attention to the assignment a certain prophesy said he’d come to fulfill.

Though reading a novel like this, one just had to get a dictionary tucked into his pocket or have it on a study desk. One thing to note about Karen Miller’s book, Innocent Mage and other titles is that, the storyline took a close resemblance with a 2008 TV series ‘Merlin’. Asher’s part as the aid to Prince Gar and Merlin also played the role of an aid to the apparent heir to Camelot, Prince Arthur whose kingdom magic or sorcery was severely punishable and summarily leads to death sentence.

From the fact that Asher played a key role in the management of other characters in this piece, and from Karen’s careful merging of scenes and total concentration of the catalyst of the story line (Asher) drove home the point that she had really folded her sleeves, worked tirelessly on her drawing board to give such a masterpiece. But it would rather be fair of a good reader to note that, Karen Miller can necessarily avoid the lengthy encapsulation of some descriptive part of the story. The fact that the book stretched too long in some part explaining some unnecessary details could of course bore readers.

Just like any storyline, after the protagonist and Antagonist had been discovered, the next thing is the matter of discourse after which the morals is considered. Innocent Mage  explored the turns of event for a patient fisherman’s son from Restsharven who seek to give his father comfort at old age, and latter narrows down to an unreservedly patience he employed in the course of getting what he actually came to Lur for even while the turns of event for him were quite unpleasant most times. Asher normally would have thought it twice and left the kingdom he sojourned at but virtues he learnt preserved him all through.