I love that this book had me hooked, from the first line of the first chapter. I love how subtle references to deeper events, unexplained, put me in a frenzy roller coaster, making me want to jump into this dark well, where the past of Hajiya Binta lay buried—to find out the inner workings of Yaro, or even little Ummi, to make a connection with an invisible thread, a web to link up with handsome Reza. But then, I try not to make the connections, yet the sleek narrative skills will keep tugging at me, pulling me to that dark well. So I love this book more as I turn over and over, to another chapter.


I love the way I became a resident of Binta’s inner mind, rummage through deep roots of her childhood memories, creating different characters and scenarios, and then striking them out of the equation. I love how Reza is kept initially in a safe distance, and then with a sudden explosion, dropped like a nuclear bomb without fair warning. I loved it even more as I swirled wider within Reza’s motives.


I love how I could see the better side of Reza, feeling pity for this broken boy trying to make a new life. I keep wondering, what drove him to San Siro?  I loved and hated that I had many questions about the futility of that relationship, but then I kept rooting for it, even though I believed it might just be destined for tragedy. I love it more when I just cannot figure it out anymore.


I love how I can’t blame Binta for her actions. I always try to justify her shortcomings with her past stories. I love it in a sad way, how this book teaches me about my own country’s history, my own people’s traditions and the tangled web of ethnicity we live in. I really loved it that the story kept nudging me ahead.


I love how my heart jumped in my chest, clenched to my ribcage, trying to understand Fa’iza’s affliction. I love the feeling of knowing her desire to lose herself in books. I love how I cannot do the same with this book because I know it will not end the way I want it to, and I love the fact that I’ll still stick with its pages to the very end.


I love how it gives me a snapshot of the machinations of our country, the manipulations of young minds, the elaborate scheme in plain view, which we just never care to see. Above all, I love how this book shows that life indeed goes on, heedless of our choices.


There are 7 things I love about this book. But what I love the most is that I cannot conjure up enough love as it is to love it even more because reading it is a compulsion. I love that it is one of the most captivating books I have read and that it will stay with me for a very long while.



About the Author:

Portrait - MalumfashiHabiba Malumfashi (b. 1998) is a 100L student of Agriculture at Ahmadu Bello University. She is an ardent reader of books and anything literature.

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

9 Responses to “7 Things I Love About This Book | Season of Crimson Blossoms | by Habiba Malumfashi” Subscribe

  1. Malumfashi Ibrahim 2016/07/04 at 4:34 am #

    I love the way the review pay heed to all the essence of the love. I love my lovely little girl’s simple use of words to conjure a whole book. Thanks Habiba!

  2. Gainaako 2016/07/04 at 11:49 am #

    Great review.

  3. Ahamed Rufai 2016/07/04 at 5:26 pm #

    “I love how I can’t blame Binta for her actions.” Of course, this is simply feminism at its best. Habiba, you will find excuses for a woman whose sexual escaped led to the very tragic death of her own son?

  4. Fatima 2016/07/04 at 7:21 pm #

    Ahamed, only a “man” would reduce the range of Binta’s emotions to “feminism at its best”.

    No one is making excuses for Binta. We (hopefully the author too) are just acknowledging her right to “feel”.

    Would you feel her emotions are more valid if her sexuality were not brought into the matter?

    I could go on but it would distract us from Habiba’s poetic review.

  5. Ahamed Rufai 2016/07/07 at 12:48 am #

    Fatima, tell me about Binta’s “right to feel”. Her teenage daughter, her fellow women in the islamiyya, her Imam and not to mention her suitor, all tried to caution her in one way or the other about the consequence of this her “right to feel” . If she had not been warned…but what difference will it make to you since she has licence to feel or is it more of a licence to kill?

  6. Malumfashi Ibrahim 2016/07/07 at 7:04 am #

    Ahmed the novel is not a sacred text. It is not a sermon. It is not a conjured attempt to make you see things in their proper context. It is just an attempt to tell you about life….I am sure there are many Bintas like her around….doing it their ways….and many other Bintas…doing it your way…Simple.

  7. habiba malumfashi 2016/07/10 at 5:21 pm #

    ahamed rufai
    I understand what you mean but it is not simply feminism that makes me feel sympathetic to Binta’s plight. I think I would relate should the protagonist have been male, it is simply empathy. I appreciate that you read and commented but I think this is something you should have taken on with the author of the book. I am simply enjoying a good work of art and hoping others understand it too.

  8. Aliyu Jalal 2016/10/12 at 5:19 pm #

    But the novel us incredible anyway. On Binta’s part, I fail to fix things together up to now

  9. Richard Ali 2016/10/21 at 1:12 am #

    Really delighted to read your review, @Habiba. It’s a lovely one, and the style is very effective.

    @Ahamed, not everything that women do is “feminism” and we must be wary of press-ganging our sisters and mothers into yet another ill-fitting mould. The point of the book, as I see it, is that we all, beneath every adjective, male, female, old, young, etc, have dreams and that the story of our lives is the chasing of our individual dreams. So, can it really matter if tragedy or not ensues from a dream if we have done the very best we can honestly? Is there a measure of joy against misery? One mudu here for ten mudus there? The point is, no one should decide the answers to these questions for someone else. Least of all for characters in a fiction, even Abubakar’s excellently wrought fiction here.

    Really happy for the conversation. Please keep talking about Abubakar’s work and recommending it to others to read. In doing this, we build a healthy, wide range of ideas and interpretations that can only do us good.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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