Brittle Paper plays host to yet another author. We extend a warm welcome to Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu, who is just starting out on a five-day tour that will take her through ten other blogs. Brittle Paper is her third stop, after which she will head head out to BooksLiveSA and Praxis Magazine For Arts and Literature. She is publicizing her novel titled The Domestication of Munachi–a drama-filled novel that explores a young woman’s struggle to break free from societal expectations about marriage and womanhood.
It’s such a treat to Ifesinachi here. Now I know you have lots of questions about the novel. The aspiring writers among us may have questions about the writing process and Ifesinachi’s experience with publishing. Don’t worry, she is on hand to indulge our curiosity, but here is what we are going to do.
First, we will give those of you who haven’t read the book a quick summary of the juicy plot. If you scroll further down, you can listen to Ifesinachi read a snippet of The Domestication of Munachi. Feel free to write any questions or comments you might have in the comment section. Ifesinachi will respond to you as best as she can.
Okay, let’s go!
Synopsis of The Domestication of Munachi
On a hot Sunday afternoon years ago…
…Two sisters walk in on their father’s sexual liaison with the family’s hired help which leaves them both scarred in different ways.
Unable to bear the thought of marriage to a man she barely knows, the younger and more adventurous one, Munachi, runs away from home on the eve of her traditional marriage, unwittingly resurrecting a long buried feud between her religious mother and eccentric aunty. This conflict leaves a door open for the family’s destruction.
The Domestication of Munachi (DOM) is a novel about the unnecessary pressure on women to take on life partners, regardless of who these partners are and the psychological impacts seen through the stories of two sets of sisters—Munachi and Nkechi versus Chimuanya and Elizabeth. [If you are in East Africa, order The Domestication of Munachi here.]
Listen to Okoli-Okpagu read a snippet of the novel
NJIDEKA GOT ME thinking about my new lover. After sharing my body in the most intimate way, I was curious to know more about him. I was not sure I was ready yet to know about his family because I was desperate to keep that part of him away from our visits. I had asked about his full name the last time we met.
“Kolade Johnson,” he had replied with amusement dancing in his eyes. “Did you not look at the card I gave you the first day we met?”
Shamed stained my cheeks. I had looked at the card just once—the day I returned his call—and I had not even taken time to memorise his full name.
This weekend, as I watched him stroll naked to the bathroom, I resisted the urge to lean over and rummage through his things for any other information that I could tie to him. His perfume, rich like the smell in the air after rain kissed hot earth, teased my nostrils. We were in the same hotel we had been the last time and it occurred to me that this may be his lovers’ nest where he took all the women he claimed as mistresses. The thought angered me but humbled me as I thought of what this life could mean for me.
Few minutes later, he returned and slipped into bed beside me. He nuzzled an ear and I giggled as his goatee brushed my cheek.
“What are you thinking, sweetheart?”
“That was too quick a reply. You know what I am thinking?”
“I am thinking we should spend the whole day together since I don’t really have anywhere to go.” He gently pushed me up. “I got you something.”
A ripple of excitement churned through my belly as he bent over and retrieved something from the drawer beside him. He held open a little box. It held the most beautiful ear rings I had ever seen or owned in my life. Tiny gold lights twinkled in the seductive balls dangling from slender stems attached to hooks.
“Thank you sir,” I gushed and threw myself at him.
I felt—rather than hear—him chuckle before he gently pushed me away. “I gave Dotun some money to pay into your account. It should reflect by Monday.”
I was so excited that I blurted without thinking, “Your wife must be the luckiest woman in the world. You are so generous.”
A tense minute followed my response after which he stood up and started putting on his clothes in that slow, calculated manner of his. My last sentence hung heavy in the air. Forbidden.
“Where are you going?” Panic coated my voice.
“I have decided that I need to go home after all,” he simply said. “The driver will return to pick you up. It’s best you get ready.”
“KJ…I’m sorry.” Tears burned hot behind my eyes.
He gave me a wry smile. “You are young and there are lots of things you have to learn which I am ready to be patient for. But one thing you need to learn quickly is separating realities, my dear, because I find it difficult handling two realities at the same time. That’s why I am with you now. For this moment. Now. Here.”
He leaned over and planted a quick kiss on my cheek. His lips were cold. “For now, this reality is over,” he said quietly and left without looking back. His words felt like the caress of a feather across my cheeks.
It was what I hated most about him. He never looked back.
About the Author:
Aside wishing she could travel more often and she could stop answering questions nobody ever asks, Ifesinachi is a creative mom with the superhuman abilities to get bored when she’s working on a single project at a time. The Domestication of Munachi is her first novel.
In her regular life, Ifesinachi .O. Okpagu is a Lagos based marketing communications executive with over seven years’ experience, including being an Associate Producer of a pan-African TV show and heading the marketing communications team of an insurance company. She also serves as the chief custodian of the Lexiton brand with intellectual property in the media and entertainment industry. Her first book, a novella, was published when she was fourteen and was adopted as a secondary school recommended text in Delta and Ebonyi states.
She was educated at Queens College, Lagos, and at the University of Benin where she obtained a BA in Fine and Applied Arts. Ifesinachi also holds a Masters degree from the Pan-African University where she graduated top of her class. She has written several stories, some of which have been published in Sentinel Nigeria, the African Roar Anthology and Saraba Magazine.
She has written/produced several screenplays for the big screen and for television.