It’s been almost a week since I made a post. My few final weeks in the University are already filled with several deadlines and my examination time table is out! But I’ll ensure there’s at least one new post every week. For the first post this week, I share two quick book reviews by Lanre Shonoiki my witty friend and classmate. The Thing Around Your neck and Eko Dialogue are two of my favourite books read so far (this year)… Enjoy!
THE THING AROUND YOUR NECK (written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
Here, Chimamanda transitions from the novels, Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, into a collection of short stories, told in the effective, simple language she is highly reputed for. Skepticism on the minds of her fans about her ability to rightly tell bits of narrative doesn’t make it beyond “Cell One.” Characters practically walk out of the pages and lead you through experiences so real that you sometimes fear you turned the last leaf over yourself. The exuberant youth who learns from the shattered to value life (Cell One); the retired lecturer whose life resonates with wraiths of friends and lovers past (Ghosts); the faraway wife on the verge of “adopting” a “younger sister” (Imitation); the as-like-as-chalk-and-cheese writers on Jumping Monkey Hill; the re-dejected Kamara with autistic lesbian tendencies and a handful of others all resound the depth of Adichie’s knowledge of the situations, challenges and psyches of Nigerians. Accounts presented are rich, personal, convincing, seamless and above all beautiful in all their circumstantial imperfection. By the end, readers would find themselves culturally and essentially educated, critics would be rendered speechless, publishers and editors would have found a new standard of reference and writers would have found a higher level of story-telling to aspire to. Thumbs up Ngozi! The hat trick is complete.
EKO DIALOGUE (written by Joy Isi Bewaji)
Some would describe this book that’s barely twice this whole review as ‘small’. ‘Effective’ should be the word. Joy manages to share the true Lagos experience in a hundred and twelve twenty-line pages. (A handful of BBC’s best reporters have tried in over a million words and the thesis is still on the drawing board.) Eko Dialogue is a collection of broken “gossips” on the lives of unrepentant survivors as they rive through the Lagos city cum hive, tricking and treating barely living bodies and semi-nobodies in a bid to make it back home at night… for the next day’s dose of the city’s travails. A fine broth spiced with slangs, grammar-murdering bus conductors, unforgivable vanity junkies and people who haven’t the faintest idea who they are, Eko Dialogue is a book you will keep not just for reference (I bet some of the stories bring personal experiences to mind), but for the occasional laugh you need to fix a broken day. A few typos make the read slightly bumpy, but be rest assured that you would get good value for your money… or the minutes of cajoling it would cost you to borrow a friend’s copy (no one would let this book out easily). You’ll be through with the book in a few hours, but the book will linger a little longer… to punctuate the next time you haggle the fare with the conductor or listen to the pastor bid you sow “special seeds”.