Bite-size Review: Foreign Gods, Inc. | Okey Ndibe

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Foreign Gods, Inc. | Okey Ndibe

Okey Ndibe explores the relationships between traditional Igbo religious systems and fervent Christian worshipers within contemporary contexts. Creatively subtle Ndibe’s exploration takes place with Ike’s story, a Nigerian middle-aged man, educated to degree level and a cab-driver in New York city. The measly earnings Ike makes from the cab service hardly keep him afloat the mounting bills and outstanding debts, the financial demands of his family in Nigeria, the recovery of his recent divorce, to cover his addiction to gambling and alcohol. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Foreign Gods, Inc. | Okey Ndibe”

Bite-size Review: Happiness, Like Water | Chinelo Okparanta

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Happiness, Like Water | Chinelo Okparanta

Chinelo Okparanta’s Happiness Like Water brings together a melange of short stories centred on contemporary issues faced by Nigerian women. In a powerful and lucid language, the lurid details of women subjected to the failings of a sexist society finds a voice. Whether trudging through the cruel accounts of domestic violence or sexual prejudice, the narrators tone maintain a compassionate composure that speaks volume of the continuing exploitation of women within male hegemonic structures. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Happiness, Like Water | Chinelo Okparanta”

Bite-size Review: Open City | Teju Cole

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Open City | Teju Cole

Exquisitely executed, Cole offers a fresh voice and talent to the African literature scene. His debut novel Open City presents an insight into a young Nigerian doctor who encounters and recollects conversations that he had with strangers and patients. Each conversation reveals meditation of history, social class, culture and the individual experience. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Open City | Teju Cole”

Bite-size Review: The Spider King’s Daughter | Chibundu Onuzo

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The Spider King’s Daughter | Chibundu Onuzo

Beautifully crafted with a youthful slant, this novel tells a story of two unsuspecting teenage lovers: Abikė Johnson, a wealthy and favourite daughter of a multi-business owner, and a hawker who remains unnamed throughout the novel. Written in a first person parallel narrative, both protagonists reveal the vast contrast in their lifestyles, worlds and experience of Lagos, Nigeria. This novel starts off with an innocent twist, a seemingly harmless and enchanting love story with themes similar to the traditional fairy tale, Princess and the Frog. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Spider King’s Daughter | Chibundu Onuzo”

Bite-size Review: The Slave Girl | Buchi Emecheta

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The Slave Girl | Buchi Emecheta

Much is known about the cruel system of slavery that blighted the African continent for almost 200 years. But in the Slave Girl, Emecheta turns our attention to the distinctive complexion of existing and cultural networks of slavery in Africa at the turn of the century. With her mastery of language and a gift for narrative, she brings to life the story of Objeta, an ill- fated ibuza girl sold to a wealthy aunt by her own brother. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Slave Girl | Buchi Emecheta”

Bite-size Review: Efuru | Flora Nwapa

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Efuru | Flora Nwapa

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. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Efuru | Flora Nwapa”

Bite-size Review: Things Fall Apart | Chinua Achebe

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Things Fall Apart | Chinua Achebe

Achebe, often deemed as The Godfather of all written African literature in English, in his exceptional and timeless classic beckons the reader to question and reason with the “conquered” history of Africans. Achebe vividly paints personal family recollections to deconstruct the colonial governance of the fictional Nigerian Igbo village, Umuofia, transposing this deconstruction to the rest of Anglophone African countries. Things Fall Apart examines how the British colonial administration and religious imposition threatens the harmonious customs and tradition of the Umuofian people. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Things Fall Apart | Chinua Achebe”

Bite-size Review: Americanah | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Americanah | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I must admit that before reading this novel I was originally sceptical due to my neutral fence against the ‘Chimamanda’ hype. Nonetheless, this book surprised me, and not just the good, gentle, ‘take your breath away’ kind of surprise, but the ‘oh-my-dear-God-did-she-really-just-write-this-I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-reading-somebody-slap-me-I’m-in-book-heaven’ kind of surprise. And I loved every moment – until the last quarter (we will come back to this). Americanah shares a story of two teenage lovers: Ifemelu and Obinze. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Americanah | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie”

Bite-size Review: The Famished Road | Ben Okri

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The Famished Road | Ben Okri

1991 Booker Prize winner and that is of no surprise. Okri weaves a world where the physics of reality and spirituality intertwine, imposing an imaginary vertigo on the reader. This is a colourful novel with animated characters and a palpable presence. As you read, the interwined physical and spiritual worlds morph into a life of its own. You can visualise the decrepit roads, smelly gutters, poverty-stricken one-room apartments and petrol polluted air alongside the extraterrestrial, airy, kaleidoscopic, and imaginative spiritual realm. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Famished Road | Ben Okri”