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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Interesting Perspective

Since I have moved to Nigeria, I have been meaning to read some books written by Nigerian authors about Nigeria.  But, I had so many books I brought with me that hadn't been read, that I just had to read those first...I just couldn't let them sit there all sad and lonely (some of you may not know my complete fascination with the Tudor dynasty in England....I had to finish all the Philippa Gregory books my mom had given me...and yes, I know the books are historical fiction..but I am totally hooked!)  I had heard about this author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and knew I needed to read at least one of her books.  If you are interested in reading a Nigerian's perspective on life in Nigeria (primarily Lagos) then, this book may be of some interest to you.  It was very enlightening to me to read about a Nigerian's perspective on Nigeria and oyibos ( white people) in particular.  The book is a very simple read, and it is a compilation of various fictional short stories ranging from Nigerian people living in Lagos to Nigerians moving to the U.S, and everything in between.

One thing I have learned from living here (and just further validated by this book) is that I had a very ethnocentric view of the world when I lived in the U.S.  Not that it is a bad thing... it's just that I didn't realize until I lived here and saw each and every day how very different other peoples' thoughts and days were in other parts of the world while I was living inside my own "little world".

If any of you have a chance to read this book...please let me know your thoughts.:) I would love to hear about your perspective.:)


  1. How funny, just caught up on your blog. So sorry to hear about the sick family and very relieved to hear the kids at least are well. Hope the others are headed in that direction too. Unfortunately, I know too much about sitting in ER and how it feels when your child is screaming with pain... and you can't do anything to make it stop when they ask you to. And of course, I am writing this from the Royal Childrens Hospital where we are spending another night. No crises tonight just routine chemo-if there is ever such a thing. 2 more sessions to go and we will finish and hopefully not have any more of this stuff to deal with.

    Anyway, long way to get to it, but I read the same book last week. Tash has been tearing through 3 to 4 books a week so I headed out to the local library. There on the shelves, helpfully in a large print edition (yes it does help), was this book. I think her voice is authentically Nigerian but more representative of the upper middle and elite classes than the man in the street. It is what she knows best, having come from that background and it let me relive Lagos for a little while. I have read "Purple Hibiscus" and "Half a Yellow Sun" by the same author. I think "Half a Yellow Sun" is probably her most sophisticated work and is an interesting way to get a better appreciation of what it was like for the Igbos during the Biafran war. It still informs Nigerian culture and behaviour.

    Other Nigerian writers to try - Helon Habila who we really enjoyed reading and is very accessible as a writer; Chinua Achebe, the master, especially for the classic "Things Fall Down"; Ben Okri "The Famished Road" which is about a spirit child living in the slums of Lagos and won a Booker Prize, a more challenging read but very evocative. You could also get very intellectual and try Wole Soyinka, who won the Nobel prize. He is still around Lagos and still an activist at heart. He writes essays and plays in the main. Terra Kulture had put his plays on from time to time when I was there. I was more excited about going than my Nigerian colleagues.

    PS my very first post - Love Angela

  2. Have you read Amerikanah by the same author?