Achebe

Our love story began years back, over two decades ago. Every weekend I ransacked my mother’s makeshift library which was a stack of books piled up in termite bitten and dust laden cartons on her wardrobe. Despite stern warnings to stir clear of the books, reminding me all the time that some of those books were older than i was and that she had bought them before ever thinking of marrying my father, the bond between us grew stronger and there was no turning back.

I remember the sleepless date nights we had with the Pace Setter Series, my favorites still remain Too Cold For Comfort, The Undesirable Element and The Deliquent. These series stirred my thirst for adventure, they were the perfect dessert after a long hard day at school solving algebra and calculus. Then I stumbled on the Chinua Achebe series, breaking into the world of young Chike and how he had to navigate his way around the river. No Longer at Ease and Okonkwo’s journey to death in Things Fall Apart opened my eyes to the rich culture in Eastern Nigeria. Wole Soyinka’s Ake: The years of childhood and Ola Rotimi’s The gods are Not to Blame stimulated my appetite to dig into the archives helping me to embrace our political history. From Buchi Emecheta’s Bride Price and Joys of Motherhood to Elechi Amadi’s Sunset in Biafra, Chukwuemeka Ike’s Bottled Leopard, the list is endless. They formed the building blocks of my addiction to fiction and flair for writing.

But along the line, I fell for the seductive lines of JK Rowling and was whisked off to Hogwarts, spellbound from Harry Porter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Harry Porter and the Deathly Hallows. As I moved from JK to Danielle Steel, Sidney Sheldon and Tolkien, the flame of our love began to fade as I lost track of time engrossed in their pages. Then I felt a shift in my taste buds, as I sailed across the Trans-Atlantic Ocean on the hardbacks of Stephen King, Patterson, Grisham and others, I felt you were not good enough for me again.

Years have gone by, and I had to join the rat race in the daily hustle to have butter on my bread which has eaten a large chunk of my time. But thanks to the likes of Adichie, Wainaina, Ama Ata Aidoo, Habila, Sefi Ataa, Okoroafor and more, my heart yearns for those late nights we had in the past and to hide myself in your embrace. You were a great companion who never complained when I needed a place for my loneliness. I do not fear death when things fall apart because I have you as a thread of gold beads around my neck. I will always remember the memory of love, we shared under the udala tree on the famished road. But I know everything good will still come because I am no longer at ease to write about your brilliant literary exploits.

Your Runaway lover and reader

Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

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.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

The New Things Fall Apart Cover is the Best Thing You’ll See Today

ekpuk-ephemeral-cuba

Things Fall Apart will be 60 next year. And Penguin USA is pulling all the stops to put together a […]

Akwaeke Emezi Awarded the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa Region

akwaeke-emezi-brittle-paper

Akwaeke Emezi has been awarded the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Africa Region) for her entry, “Who Is Like God?” […]

#LetRomeoBreathe: How Young Nigerian Writers Pushed Back against Violent Homophobia

metro

It began hours after the Brunel Prize was awarded to Romeo Oriogun on 2 May. Amidst the explosion of cheers, […]

Opportunity for Nigerian Writers | Enter for the Okike Prize for Literature

Okike-Prize-for-Literature

Another prize awarding literary excellence has surfaced. The Okike Prize for Literature is a new initiative promoting writing by Nigerian […]

An Evening of African Literature | Photos From Abubakar Ibrahim and Sarah L. Manyika’s Washington, DC Reading

It is always a delightful treat to hear African writers in conversation with each other. A few weeks ago, I […]

Dear Tete Petina: “I Am One of Those People Who Once Really Wanted To Win the Caine Prize”

Last week, we debuted an advice column for writers, titled Tete Petina. The column is written by novelist Petina Gappah. […]