During the month of June, I challenged myself to read more African Literature. I rarely do these type of challenges and it was fun and I will be doing more of these in the future. I only managed to read 3 books and today I have reviews for two. The other book I read was Illumination of which I posted my review a few weeks back (if interested you can find my review here).
The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
Title: The Son of the House
Author: Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
Published: February 2019
“We must do something to pass the time, I thought. Two women in a room, hands and feet tied.”
Kidnapped in Nigeria by a group not unlike Boko Haram, two women, Nwabulu and Julie, relate the stories of the very different lives fate has meted out for them.
When Nwabulu’s father dies, her stepmother sends her off to become a housemaid. For years, she suffers the abuse of employers, a love affair with an employer’s son offering little comfort. Out of their union a son is born, but the young Nwabulu has to give him up, and is bound to suffer in her stepmother’s home again until she can flee, establishing herself as a fashion designer, and finally able to inhabit Julie’s world.
Julie: privileged, educated, and adored by her parents. She has the opportunity to become whomever she desires. But sometimes too much choice can be a dangerous thing, and in Julie’s case it is. At thirty-four she is still unmarried and, for the first time, there is pressure: a burden that will only be lifted with the birth of a son. So determined is Julie for release that she goes as far as a polygamous marriage.
While the two women wait for the ransom to be paid, fate will once again decide the course of their lives.
This book is a debut from the author and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
Her writing style is poetic, lyrical, easy and amazing. It reminded me of Chimamamnda Ngozi’s writing. The book is set in 4 decades and we get to follow these characters throughout these decades. The story unfolds beautifully. I just loved how everything tied up at the end. It is so easy to relate to the characters and you get to experience the pain they’ve endured through this time. I shed a tear at some of the experiences encountered by the main character in particular. It was heart-breaking yet motivational as you get to see the strength maintained throughout these circumstances. The story is something we are familiar with especially in African cultures. The ending was not the way I anticipated. I would have loved to see more but it is what it is. I’d highly recommend this book, its fast paced and engaging. Be aware that the book deals with rape.
But Deliver Us from Evil by Lauri Kubuitsile
Author: Lauri Kubuitsile
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller
Publicist: Frieda le Roux
Published: May 2019
But Deliver Us from Evil tells the story of two young women whose lives converge at a crucial juncture.
The story opens in 1870, when Nthebolang’s father is unjustly accused of being a witch and sentenced to death. After he has been ritually thrown off a high cliff, Nthebolang and her mother are forced to flee.
Beatrice, a fair-skinned Koranna girl, has lost her parents to captors in ongoing conflicts with the white settlers.
When she moves to the small village of Nstweng, she meets Nthebolang and the two strike up an unlikely friendship.
Here, a tightly menacing tale plays out. When Nthebolang’s lover is accused of witchcraft, it seems as if her childhood is repeating itself all over again.
Will she be able to save him, or will he meet the same fate as her father?
And is Beatrice a friend in whom Nthebolang should place her trust, or not?
A moving work of historical fiction by the author of The Scattering.
The story is told in different narratives but at the end everything comes together. At the beginning I was a bit confused a bit which lasted only for a short while. The characters are so different which I always enjoy in books. The story addresses topics that are intricate and complicated especially in the African culture. Some of these are unbelievable and can be dismissed as tales but there is a certain truth to them. However, the author did an amazing job addressing them in a way that is understandable even if you don’t necessarily believe them. I enjoyed the complicated relationships presented in this story. Issues of abuse are addressed so be aware of them.
Thank you Penguin Random House SA for these copies.
Until next time, lets keep reading.