Cannonball Passport: Hello from Nigeria~
An aside that I am on the lookout for novels written by writers from the African diaspora who are not Nigerian, as I think almost 100% of my novels have been by Nigerian authors (writing in English). It’s perhaps that last point which informs why…
In any case! I grabbed this book while I was waiting for the next novel, A Spell of Good Things, to be available. My main takeaway, especially after also reading Africa Is Not a Country: Notes on a Bright Continent, is that I need to be a lot more educated on Nigerian politics, because it’s a large country that’s only going to continue to grow in importance in the global geopolitical landscape.
But that’s not what we’re here for: we’re here for the work that Adébáyọ̀ puts into crafting narratives that interlace and interweave, so that by the inevitable ending you’re left with no other outcome than the one she’s led you to.
I also wonder how Nigerian readers respond to her work—I’ve gone on the record multiple times to hash out my confusing feelings towards most (if not all?) desi literature, but this book definitely reads like something that would infuriate me if it were about India/Indian characters.
Adébáyọ̀ is focused on the love story of Yejide and Akin, who fell in love in university and were subsequently married. Their life is one of ostensibly modernity, then, but there’s still hints of the old-school traditional in how Yejinde is around her mother-in-law and her in-laws more broadly, of how she is waiting in place to finally, finally have the child who will make her complete. That being said…she isn’t. And while she and Akin agreed that polygamy isn’t for them, it isn’t long before Akin’s mother shows up one day with a second wife for Akin, who will give him a second shot at a child.
I’d say this book was less about the back and forth between modern and traditional that I thought it would be, and more a philosophical musing on the outcomes of situations on people who react differently. Well paced and easy to read, would recommend!