AFRIKULT.’S OVERALL RATING:
Where many have fallen short, Elnathan John’s debut novel Born on a Tuesday completes the dramatisation of insurgency in Nigeria with dark wit, poise and captivating simplicity. Dantala, a Muslim boy, like many hustlers on the streets of Northern Nigeria teeters on the verge of survival. Beginning with the loss of his friend Banda, which propels his escape from a life of petty political crimes into the paternal bosom of Sheikh Jamal, a new chapter ensues. Yet fate has more in store to test his resolve. As death unrepentantly claims his mother and sends for his brothers Hussein and Maccido, amid revelation of their Shiite initiation and activities in the middle east, grief stirs against his determination. Thus, his world begins to tumble; with fanatics vying for control whilst political schemes and plays crumble in the thickest of the fray. Loyal friends draw swords and old alliances bickers. In this fracturing wild heat of hatred nothing matters but power. Perched on the precipice, Dantala must make a choice.
With a picaresque tone, fast paced and full of dynamic characters, Born on a Tuesday is riddled with interesting plot twists that captures the unpredictability of politics and power. Although bereft of effusive prose, the deliberate and clever economy of narrative progression keeps the reader relentlessly engaged. Born on a Tuesday offers a fascinating glimpse into the human mind in pursuit of power.