What I Am Reading

My thoughts on books, comics, literary magazines, anthologies that I am currently reading and adding to the Amethyst Saw Library.

STAY WITH ME

Was it only my friends and I who chanted Sam Smith’s stay with me chorus when they saw this book?

Ayobami Adebayo’s moving romance has some sparing truthful quotes about love:

“If the burden is too your much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But even when it’s in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer love.”

and..

“Besides, what would be left of love without truth stretched beyond it’s limits, without those better versions of ourselves that we present as the only ones that exist?”

After reading lauding reviews, captivating interviews of the author and visual feasting on three paperback designs of the novel. I longed to read about the Nigerian marriage assailed by infertility, family interference, infidelity, loneliness and sickle cell disease. I was curious about the characters their feelings, their love and how adultery, polygamy would hinder their love. Would this love and struggle to have a child bring them closer or heal their loneliness? The struggle did not.

Ayobami Adebayo’s profound tale of Yejide and Akin Ajayi’s marriage will stay with you. With its engaging themes of love, desperation, loss, infidelity, family interference, loneliness and insecurity. It is geographically set, in Ilesa, Osun state, Jos, Plateau state and Lagos state in Nigeria during the 80s and 2008. The narrative is told by the main characters, Yejide the motherless heroine and Akin the secret hiding hero. It bounces in between the present 2008 where Yejide goes to Akin’s father’s burial ceremony and the 80s tale of their marriage and it’s tribulations.

It was an emotional read during my weekend. The story showed the beauty and unbearable pressure of Yoruba culture on the couple. Stay With Me takes you to the traditional Yoruba setting of family and marriage. By sharing similar tales you’ve heard your neighbors live. The raw, hurt, hopeful, despair filled, angry yet hesitant tone of the novel follows it’s plot. There were two revelations in the book that had me agreeing with Jennifer Makumini, author of Kintu that Ayobami is an astounding story teller.

“Rotimi”

“Rotimi- stay with me”

This was the name given to Yejide and Akin’s third child. The source of the title of the blook was revealed well into the book. Earlier I had assumed it came  from Yejide’s alarming need for Akin and his love for her, in hopes it would dispell their loneliness.  Later my guess was her desperate, heart breaking struggle to have Sesan, the second child not die from sickle cell disease. I was mistaken. Unlike the first two children who died. Rotimi, Timi stayed.

This book taught me not to assume. Revelations of truths about the paternity, source of title and also Yejide’s fatal assumption all had me screaming twice. It also drew me to think about sickle cell disease a lot more. Weeks prior to this I watched Wanawana Udobang’s Warriors short films on YouTube interviewing adults living with sickle cell in Nigeria. These are films worth watching. A person who has a child does not own the world. Don’t attach your worth as a human to relationships or children.  I love this heart wrenching romance novel. It was worth the read.

The author holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English. Ayobami is a recipient of fellowships and residencies. She also autgraphed the book for me. An almost lover had her do that across seas, how romantic. She writes my sweet name beautifully.

Brief Thought: There is a popular Nigerian saying that a woman who can’t have a child is a man. What is a man who can’t impregnate a woman?

Image source: amethystShotX

 

 

Advertisements

HERO KEKERE

African Superhero comics exist with riveting storylines, unique settings,and adventurous heroes who remind one of childhood folklore legends.

The memory of my first taste of Ewagonyin still colours my tongue like Palm oil. I ate Ewagonyin for the first time at Laminsin Peperenpe’s house in Bariga. Laminsin Peperenpe, my maternal grandmother was a Diva. A drama goddess who only ate Ewagonyin from bukas. I knew I had eaten food of the gods. After obediently swallowing the first grandchild honorary spoon. When I saw the Instagram post on children’s day about a hero and Ewagonyin. The foodie living in between my nose and upper lips was enticed.

The comic humorously depicts an Ewagonyin battle hosted by Hero Kekere amongst the contending heroes of Hero City.
The tone is one of fun, enthusiasm, excitement and food adoration. Set in Iya Takeaway’s blue, orange, beige and pink hued restaurant. A colourful yet relatable read, Hero Kekere is the perfect children’s comic. I read it three times because I love the language of the comic. The use of emojis and urban Naija exclamations and slangs elevated the traditional comic bubbles. In Nigeria, daily speech is made up of Pidgin English, Nigerian English (all local language accents apply), Native languages, British and American English. Hero Kekere captures this like Kelechi Amadi.

Guardian Prime, sentinel of faith
Power Boy, the unstoppable
Bush bay, the forest prince
Max-speed, king of velocity
Alaric, the perennial
Eru, fear himself
Who won the battle? Who paid for the fifty loaves of bread?
Go to m.thecomicrepublic.com to find out.
Hero Kekere is a Comic entry in the Amethyst Saw Library.
Hero Kekere is created by Comic Republic. Comic Republic Global Network is a Nigerian comic character franchise that produces digital comic books to tell more compelling stories of Africa and her rich culture.

Image source: m.thecomicrepublic.com
Glossary
Buka- is a hausa word in Nigeria, it means little hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Everyone knows you get really good food there

Naija-means Nigeria

Peperenpe- fashionable elite woman

Kekere- a Yoruba word that means small. A popular word used to call a child, small one.

FUCKING GHANA INTO ME

“Another time we were having sex ntuma-style when he stopped and lay on his back so I could ride him. It was coincidentally also the position I wanted to be in at that moment, so I didn’t think I could get any happier. Until he lifted my hips up so he could slide into me and said “Ohemma,be tena wokonua su” (My queen come sit on your throne). Again I was a goner.”
from Fucking Ghana Into Me by Nana Darkoa Sekyimah

African languages are sexy too. This sex memoir tells the story of just that. As rightly put in this piece. African languages are not perceived as sexy by most people. Which is quite limiting. Has an Igbo girl told you Soro m (follow me)? Most seductive thing ever. There is Tjan’s love song Smile with the most adorable Yoruba sweet names. My nipples remember Abdul’s Hausa whispers of compliments.

The steamy narrative made me blush and giggle. It’s an erotica which discusses the effect of dirty talk in Twi, a Ghanaian dialect on Nana. It makes one wonder how dirty talk in one’s local language would improve their sexual experiences. Nana writes about her adventure like a girlfriend dishing out gist on her latest bedroom exploits. The Ghanaian lovers’ Twi dirty talk instilled patriotism in Nana. I’m guessing the intriguing title was coined from that. The three pages piece has a warm tone of excitement, surprise and satisfaction. The narrator is confident in her sexuality. I loved it. Be adventurous and read Fucking Ghana Into Me and other stories on adventuresfrom.com

Adventures from the Bedroom of African Women is an award winning Ghanaian blog which hosts a safe forum for African women and men to discuss sex,sexuality and sex rights. I stumbled on it through a Brittle Paper interview of Myne Whitman. It was co-created and is managed by Nana Darkoa a communications expert.