Book Review : Julius Bokoru’s ‘The Angel That Was Always There’

Memory is powerful; it is a very heavy burden that is not so easy to put down. Thanks to Literature, despite the painful remembrance, and occurrences that cloud Julius Bokoru’s mind, he was able to carefully paint a story of himself, his village and growing up, his losses and how he seeks identity even in the midst of family members, all these are featured in his faction novel ‘The Angel That Was Always There’.

The book reads like a bedtime story, it carries along the reader in an unwavering manner that completely wraps up in undivided attention. This book purges pity and mild feelings among others for the protagonist of the book Julius. And for people who grew up, lived or still live in Port Harcourt and Bayelsa State of Nigeria, the book is civil history at good notch, they should read it.

Love triangle between a fierce village belle Hetty, the author’s mother, and Trust Bokoru and Jonah Donghahbeyi, Trust’s distant cousin. Hetty loves Trust, ends up with Jonah and his American charisma, but gets pregnant for Trust and Julius was born. With this plot, Julius narrates how his sets forth to find his father and gain acceptance among his half siblings, and the most sweet rendition of how he loves his mother and how her love for him is like that of an angel that watches over one. The sad and pity feeling sets in when Julius lost his mother and his quest for his father became more of a necessity than just familiarization.

This book paints romance in its local flavour, no hidden shadows. It employs journals as a means of memory and poetry as a tool of love. And I must say the book is bearing an Ijaw placard and it is completely Nigerian.

Books For March and The Others That Amuse Me – Oluwaseyi G. Abidoye

First I apologize for the lateness on publishing the reviews of the books I read in February. My day job became a big baby that needed more tending than what the sunlight does for the earth. I was crushed in between writing, reading and working, since the later pays the bills for now, it took the larger part of me.

I am still reading Marlon James’s The Brief History of Seven Killings, contrary to the title, the book is not brief, it is bulky, and I am yet to pass the 100th page. I find myself grappling with the language and that, is slowing down my reading process, also, the book requires a very retentive memory from the reader and that demands paying keen attention, so I put a page divider somewhere in the book. So ‘ama’ continue reading Marlon’s TBHOSK for the month of march.

About Okey Ndibe’s Foreign Gods, Inc. I really enjoyed the book, find my short review here.

Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday is an eye opener to me, as it should be for many. It recounts the story of Northern Nigeria in a manner which no one has attempted before. I can say the book is a handbook for understanding the typical life of an almajiri, their vulnerability, hopes and how they are neglected to sheer destiny, unguarded and weary. My review of it will come up in a few days from now.

THE OTHER THINGS

Rivers State of Nigeria is bubbling with political killings and threats of more killings among election campaign and other political activities. Indeed power has changed hands and like karma, what went around is about to come around. I am not reporting news, this is just a mental note to self, to be careful this weekend and mind my own steps, words and actions. The rerun election is coming up the 19th of March, 2016. I hope it will not be re-killings, re-ringings and re-contesting the results of the election.

I MADE A FRIEND

For the kind of job i do, making friends solely for business reasons is the only thing that comes to mind when the phrase ‘making friends’ is mentioned. Outside work, the friends I keep are my childhood friends, asides them, I have virtual friends too, on social media.  I guess everyone knows how that kind of friendship works, stalking, likes, tweets and re-tweets and the likes. nothing really personal. But this week, I made a formal attempt to turn one of my virtual friends into a buddy friends. Let us see how that works out.

MICROPOETRY

So, while surfing the web as usual, I stumbled on the term ‘micro-poetry’. It is a kind of poetry that favors short words and concise thoughts, I do not know how formal or acceptable this kind of poetry is yet, I am still reading up about it. But I can say that this poetry favors the lazy writer, who have problems with words and too many verbose expression. Micropoetry is spontaneous in formation and dissemination and it is being made popular by tweets and twitter’s 140 character attribute. So, I decided to try men hands at it, I formed two and here they are:

TINGLING EARS

My ears want to hear good news,

Only that the windy evil men do

Clouds the sound wave,

Still, I hear whispers of love and conquest.

BURNER

No, don’t touch me,

I am not fire, so you feel you can toy with me,

I am the ice that burns from the crown to the sole,

Tips and curves all round

I hope I tired, who will score me now. Chao!

Between ‘God-Napping’ and Other Things : Reading Okey Ndibe’s ‘Foreign Gods, Inc.’ – Oluwaseyi G.Abidoye

The book has certain curiosities to it, first the title, Foreign Gods, Inc. it sends a signal and a cascade of questions down one’s mind. In Okey Ndibe’s hands we come across Ike’s story. Ike is a Nigerian New Yorker, a graduate cabby who holds an Amherst cum laud degree in Economics. Ike just waddled out of a divorce, he is broke and he is an alcohol addict. he loves the American dream, and he has had his own episode, a cut of the pie, in his bid to acquire the green card and secure a job on wall street, pursuits that left him broke, and emotionally wrecked.As a means to an end, Ike sets out to go his village in Nigeria and god-nap his village ancestral deity statue, sell it to an American god collector and make enough money to put his misery to sleep. It seems such a task-less quest until things turn into a water fall of events where culture, race,immigration and diaspora influences, African tradition and even domestic abuse are explored in the chase of Ngene the African god in a post modern context. I mean who steals a god these days?

gods inc

Foreign Gods, Inc is a page turner, one is immersed in Ike’s story and like seeking an intervention for him. His characterization is very linear, he is small willed, selfish, weak and battered man whose choices make him, not the authors. Foreign Gods, Inc is a moral tale embedded with stiff comic and light humor. Okey Ndibe projects the influence of the American dream on African immigrants, and how this influence offers them a fake sense of superiority over Africans who have not set foot in America. Ike showed this when he stumbled on the kids watching reruns of Micheal Jordan’s rerun  games, and he refused to see himself in the shoes of those boys. they really want the same thing.

Ike refuse to see that stealing his village god and selling it to an American god collector is an extension of the grip the American life has indirectly on him, Africa exports farm produce, oil diamonds and other solid minerals that have created economic channels and chaos alike, Ike just added exporting local deities to the list. so what can America not get from you, even your gods. At a point one looses feelings for Ike, and allows emotions towards his character turn cold.

Okey-Ndibe

OKEY NDIBE

The story is grounded in religion and cultural tussles as Ike’s mother and sister are victims of a fake pastor, who works on their fears  and manages to scheme them out of their little money, by pitching Ike’s Uncle and grandmother against his mother and sister as their core enemies and the killers of Ike’s father. The plots is magnified as Ike finds himself in between the love of his mother and the appearances he has to keep with his Uncle, who is the custodian of Ngene, the god he plans on god-napping. Magic realism surfaces as Ike has a recurring dream that points him as the next custodian of Ngene, corroborated by his mothers insinuations.

The authors story telling is quite simple and concise, no wasted words or lost and carried away descriptions, he seems to know where is going with the story and he is in a rush to reach there, as such there are story line distortions, as such the story is compelling  to read. After a dip into Ike’s background and personal life, the author turns one back to his ambition. he used Ike to tell of the continuous disappointment many have faced in the pursuit of the American dream an a immigrant.

I recommend this book. It is a good read. But wait, who am I to do that.