AFRIKULT.’S OVERALL RATING:
With a steady hand Abubakar weaves an affair between fifty-five year old Hajiya Binta Zubairu and twenty-five year old Reza Babale. Reza, a local weed dealer, finds himself entangled in Binta’s life after robbing her place. As Binta stands shocked in the centre of her invaded living space, she suddenly feels a cool blade gently pierce her throat and Reza’s warm breath trailing behind her neck. His abrupt entrance and body warmth arouses Binta – something she had never experienced in her recent marriage before becoming widowed. Unexpectedly, their affair begins. Their initial sexual attraction is likened to incest; Binta draws comparisons of Reza with her murdered son Yaro, while Reza reminisces on his estranged mother. Their affair ensues and torments Binta who, in turn, stops attending madrasa fearing that others will smell her sin. Slowly external events lead to their exposure. News of their affair rocks the northern Nigerian town, and leads to tragedy.
Discussions centred on sexual relationships between older women and younger men is rarely noted within African literature though this is common should it be the other way round. Abubakar reminds the reader that love can find one in the most unlikely circumstance and place. Another thing to note is Abubakar’s effortless style in setting the story, regardless of dramatic events occurring, he adopts a measured tone throughout which leaves the reader wondering whether the tragedies were so tragic after all.
The novel is also set on the backdrop of the violent upheaval in Jos, Nigeria.