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Book Reviews by Karachi Atiya

A HEART TO MEND-Myne Whitman (2009) 

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Gladys Eborah, who was brought up in a deprived household moves from Enugu to Lagos after graduation in search of a job. She meets and falls in love with a smart wealthy young man and somehow fits perfectly into his world at once. This is the sort of book to read on a slow day if you are not looking to be carried away by the tale. It’s a simple tale with no surprises, other than a crash course in managing company stocks. It could have explored and developed the characters to a larger degree. I was left with… no taste in my mouth. (2 stars)

 

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THE SECRET LIVES OF BABA SEGI’S WIVES-Lola Shoneyin (2010)

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This no-nonsense tale of Baba Segi’s household is a back-stage pass, placing you at the centre of a real-life polygamous setting. The characters come to life in your imagination as you flip from page to page. You can recognise all of them; you have seen them on street, passed them on the way to work or know them intimately. You will both recoil and rejoice in its graphic nature. The style of writing projects ‘blackness’ and crude nonchalance to whatever the reader may think. You can easily get lost in it as you get to hear the same event from the viewpoint of the different wives, and it ends with quite a bang! If the book were to have a soundtrack, I would nominate Omawunmi’s “If You Ask Me”. (4 stars)
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FROM CAVES OF ROTTEN TEETH-A collection of short stories by A. Igoni Barrett (2008)

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This collection of fourteen stories are a study in both suspense and surprise. Its poetic retelling makes for a really good read. Let me grant you a spoonful…..”For longer than it took a guru to lose his patience, the last empty seat (in the bus)-fit only for one cheek of an anorexic bottom-had single mindedly persisted in chasing all potential passengers away.” Absolutely delicious reading; It is a feast for anyone who has lived in a large city like Lagos, though I did wonder if the writer was a proclaimed sadist as almost none of his stories ended on a hopeful note. There is joy to be found in the common life of a cobbler if you looked a bit closer. All in all, a good read. (3 stars)

 

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BLACKBIRD-Jude Dibia (2011)

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This is a modern tale that weaves a complex pattern with the lives of two couples; Maya and Omoniyi and Nduesoh and Edward. It is a powerful tale that explores the blessings and curses of two extremes; the rich and the poor, the ravishingly beautiful and the horrifyingly ugly along with the ordinary lives that interplay with these two extremes. It is an engaging book from start to ‘almost-finish’ and one can’t help but be sometimes entangled with the emotions of the characters. However, I do feel that the end might have been better thought out in keeping with the integrity of the rest of the tale. The author seemed to have written them with a huge sigh of relief at finally getting ‘an end that sort-of-fits.’ (3 and a half stars)

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Review By Karachi Atiya

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