Genre: Fiction (contemporary, cultural, literary) African literature
Synopsis: An unforgettable debut novel about a boy who goes missing, a family that is torn apart, and a nation on the brink
During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But his search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens old, long forgotten ghosts as rumours of police brutality, oil shortages, and frenzied student protests serve as a backdrop to his pursuit.
In a tale that moves seamlessly back and forth through time, Ajie relives a trip to the family’s ancestral village where, together, he and his family listen to the myths of how their people settled there, while the villagers argue over the mysterious Company, who found oil on their land and will do anything to guarantee support. As the story builds towards its stunning conclusion, it becomes clear that only once past and present come to a crossroads will Ajie and his family finally find the answers they have been searching for.
And After Many Days introduces Ile’s spellbinding ability to tightly weave together personal and political loss until, inevitably, the two threads become nearly indistinguishable. It is a masterful story of childhood, of the delicate, complex balance between the powerful and the powerless, and a searing portrait of a community as the old order gives way to the new.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Review: Reading a new genre or a book written by an author not from the country/s you are used to reading is a completely different territory. It is all new and an open mind is necessary and this is what its like to read an African novel for the first time.
The story began with the character of Paul leaving home and not returning, then it was followed by stories of their lives before and after he went missing which was told simultaneously. The story is also told through Ajie’s memories and his thoughts about their every situation plays a major in the novel. This book is not easily predictable because of the words and situations were weaved altogether. I wished that the author had also included more of Paul’s thoughts during that day he left their home but even without it the story can stand for itself and is still worth reading. I think that with its good story line this will make into a good movie adaptation. I believe that more African stories should be told either in books or movies or other mediums.
It’s a story of a family and a community intertwined, related to each other. How they adapted and coped with their current situation that is rapidly changing and how they fight for what they believed in. The state of the Nigerian government also played a key role in this book. The story revolves during the time when government corruption is rampant, there are riots and rallies on streets and oppression, bribery, conspiracy, betrayal and suspicion are very much present. This novel shows how a wrongly run government can affect the lives of its citizens directly or indirectly.
It is a good read and I enjoyed it. I find it informative and very detailed. At the beginning, there’s a confusion with how the story goes based on its turn of events and its timeline. There’s no label stating what year, month or day it is. Taking down notes while reading would be a huge help in understanding more the flow of the story. It’s also engaging and entertaining. There different types of emotions and feelings evoked in the novel. There is drama, a little bit of comedy and suspense as the story progresses.
I’m glad to have the opportunity to read an African novel. This is the first time and I’m not disappointed. I have gained a new perspective in life, learned some valuable lessons and had a glimpse of how people lived in other parts of the world that are in this same situation as the characters in this book.
Publisher: Time Duggan Books
Published: February 16, 2016
Source: Blogging for Books
Read more on: Goodreads
*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
*Synopsis from Goodreads and image from Blogging for Books.