What's your best African book this year? Yes, you have to choose one. It can be any genre or category you choose. Fiction or non-fiction. Please do share. I'll tell you mine after you've told me yours. I have a game plan too, to be revealed after your reveal. That's if you play this game with me of course.
I started this blog in April 2011. I'm pinching myself when I see that in less than nine months, "Adura Ojo Presents" has received almost 22,000 hits. Thank you, dear readers. A Happy New Year and all the best of 2012 to you and yours.
This story from the outset is a brilliant idea. To the best of my knowledge, Kiru Taye seems to be exploring avenues that had previously been undiscovered: fictional romance within an African historical context. His Treasure - the first of the Men of Valour series - is a novella set in precolonial Eastern Nigeria, also known as Igboland. It is the story of Adaku and Obinna and the tensions within their marriage that blossom into love. Kiru explores cultural issues underpinning the relationship between Adaku and Obinna that make their eighteen months' marriage what it is.
What I like is that Kiru manages to strike a balance between the unpalatable cultural attitudes towards women in pre-colonial Eastern Nigeria and the wholesomeness of her two main characters. Adaku and Obinna have depth as believable characters. Adaku is as feisty as one would like to see in a culture that treated women like cattle. While I at first found it hard to believe that an African man of that era would wait so long for his wife to submit to him, I could see why Obinna comfortable in his masculinity and virility, would do just that.
Kiru faithfully adheres to most of the features of the novella as a literary form. The story is short and can be read in one sitting. I read it in an hour. Kiru Taye and her publisher know their readers well and perhaps it is with this in mind that it is so written. It is part of a series and this seems to be where fictional romance is heading. The storytelling could benefit frommore description in some detail of the cultural setting. For instance when Adanna is going to the market, the items in her basket are mentioned in passing but not described; so the reader does not know what is in the basket. It is the absence of little details like this that I miss in this thoughtful piece of work.
The sex scenes are hot and tastefully done. Some aspects of those sex scenes have not been portrayed before by an African female romance author. It is great to see an African author bold enough to go there. Blazing new trails in African romance, this is a brave and note-worthy first offering from Kiru Taye. She is definitely an author to watch. I look forward to the rest of the Men of Valour series.