AFRIKULT.’S OVERALL RATING:
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Every so often a voice thunders from a distance and enraptures our imagination. The Nigerian writer Flora Nwapa, is one of those voices. Her first novel Efuru is a delightful read yet rarely found in the top ten collection of African literature. The central character Efuru, with all her abundant grace, beauty and virtue is blighted by misfortune when her very essence as a woman is measured against her ability to conceive again after the loss of her first and only child.Painfully stripped from the sweet joys of motherhood, she overcomes her condition through showing love, kindness and care towards others in her community. However, the beauty of this novel does not only rest with Efuru. With a formidable disposition and a sharp tongue, Ajanupu’s character pervades the narrative with an astounding energy. Cleverly fashioning her as a bulwark to Efuru, Miss Nwapa shows the African woman to be multifaceted, assertive and central in the affairs of the village. She brings to her novel a distinctive texture, feel and tone of narrative, unique to the African oral tradition of storytelling. Efuru is a candid depiction of the agency of women in the African experience. In this novel we encounter decisive and industrious women playing a leading role in the welfare of their community.