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Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Book Notes No. 24 : Onitsha, JMG Le Clézio

Eighteen degrees at 8am and looking gloomy. Twenty-eight degrees at 11am, sunny and hot. Not having been off the Rock since last Tuesday. This morning's kindergarten run was a bit of a shock to the old ankle...


Anyway, here's the book review :

Onitsha tells the story of Fintan, a youth who travels by boat to Africa in 1948 with his Italian mother to join the English father he has never met. Their destination is Onitsha, a busy city on the banks of the Niger. Initially enchanted with this new and exotic world, Fintan gradually comes to recognise the intolerance and brutality of the colonial system.

I chose this of all of Nobel prize-winner Le Clèzio's 30+ novels because of past connections with Nigeria. And I wasn't disappointed. Le Clèzio's Nigeria is the Nigeria I experienced. The stunning contrast between its poverty and its wealth. Its dangerous mystery and its heady generosity. The abrasive relationship between blacks and whites, and the deep abyss between them. Added to this is the desperation of a woman who fits nowhere in this strange new world, and the growing outrage of a boy on the verge of adulthood, learning the harsh realities of colonial life and at the same time coming to understand what it is to be a man.

This novel is brutal, intense, sensual and disturbing. I will never forget it.

Neither will you.


1 comment:

ladyfi said...

Sounds fascinating - a must-read book. Thanks for the tip.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Book Notes No. 24 : Onitsha, JMG Le Clézio

Eighteen degrees at 8am and looking gloomy. Twenty-eight degrees at 11am, sunny and hot. Not having been off the Rock since last Tuesday. This morning's kindergarten run was a bit of a shock to the old ankle...


Anyway, here's the book review :

Onitsha tells the story of Fintan, a youth who travels by boat to Africa in 1948 with his Italian mother to join the English father he has never met. Their destination is Onitsha, a busy city on the banks of the Niger. Initially enchanted with this new and exotic world, Fintan gradually comes to recognise the intolerance and brutality of the colonial system.

I chose this of all of Nobel prize-winner Le Clèzio's 30+ novels because of past connections with Nigeria. And I wasn't disappointed. Le Clèzio's Nigeria is the Nigeria I experienced. The stunning contrast between its poverty and its wealth. Its dangerous mystery and its heady generosity. The abrasive relationship between blacks and whites, and the deep abyss between them. Added to this is the desperation of a woman who fits nowhere in this strange new world, and the growing outrage of a boy on the verge of adulthood, learning the harsh realities of colonial life and at the same time coming to understand what it is to be a man.

This novel is brutal, intense, sensual and disturbing. I will never forget it.

Neither will you.


1 comment:

ladyfi said...

Sounds fascinating - a must-read book. Thanks for the tip.