After finishing Allah is Not Obliged just over a week ago I have now ordered and intend to read everything by Ahmadou Kourouma. Maybe this is an over reaction to an incredible reading experience which includes Brian Chikwava’s Harare North [still writing the review on this] – we will see. Since then I have started two other books one by a Nigerian author and the other a Ugandan. I am reluctant to name them because they were just OK enough for me to get through the first 20 pages or so before withdrawing. I may return later but for the moment the books are closed.
Whilst it is exciting that so many new Nigerian writers are publishing there is the danger of being disappointed by the lack of creativity in style and language as well as story line. So not everyone can produce a Graceland, Famished Road or Half of a Yellow Sun (including the authors themselves – Ben Okri for example has never come close to Famished Road) and I admit there is always a market for easy to read uncomplicated writing. For me though after reading excellence in all its forms I cannot return to mediocrity and would rather not read at all. Putting it in music terms – after hearing Seun Kuti would you ever bother to listen to Femi again? I do not write book reviews. I am a literature optimist so will always try but if I don’t enjoy a book please do not expect me to bother writing about it – the world is littered with half read books.
Two new novels from Kenya and Nigeria which might just hit the mark.
And from Nigeria, ”Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman” by Ogo Ogbata is set in colonial and post-independent Nigeria and addresses both the personal and the political – issues such as identity, race gender violence and corruption. I have been asked by the author to offer one copy to readers of this blog. So if anyone is interested please email me – sokari at blacklooks dot org with book offer in the subject. Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman is published by Priceless Books. Listen to an interview with the author on YouTube.