Thursday, December 27, 2012


I know all of us are still in a celebration mood, including me. I had actually thought that I will be off writing and blogging till next year but like bees drawn to the honey comb so is a writer drawn to writing.
Anyways one of my Christmas presents from my darling Temi was Chinua Achebe's new novel "There Was A Country". Now people who know me, know that even though I am an avid reader its only recently I started reading a lot of novels by Nigerian authors, even though I read "CHIKE AND THE RIVER, THINGS FALL APART", I still wasn't an avid reader of Achebe's works.

I don't know if I can say this of a renowned author, but I will anyway: as a writer Achebe has greatly improved. This is how I see his writing now: it's as though he writes for a wider audience. It's as though he writes for the readers in China as well as readers in America at the same time. He can take an Ibo proverb and describe it using America/British terms. I am greatly impressed as I hope that this novel becomes a bestseller topping a lot of the big authors in writing history. I have also learnt that Chinmamanda Adiche writes a lot like Achebe.. Very Impressive.

Although I am not through with the book I am learning a lot about Nigerian history and the events that took place before I was born. It saddens me to think that history has been removed from all our secondary schools. I think that history should be compulsory in all secondary schools in Nigeria up until A'  levels, instead of maths or English. Oh well that's a topic for another day.

I also think that all the minor ethnic groups in Nigeria should start developing works of fiction laced with our rich history and culture granting our Nigerian/African all over the world the opportunity to know about African folklore's, myths, history, culture like they do about the Greek mythology.

Before I go I will leave you with some excerpts of the book that I have found very intriguing:

Page 93:

"I received my scholarship to study medicine at Ibadan. I wanted to be in the arts but felt the pressure to choose medicine instead. After a year of work I changed to English, history and theology, but by so doing I lost the bursary and was left with the prospect of paying tuition"

(Now for me this is determination. It is sad that parents still pressure their children to study courses they don't really have a flare for. Someone asked this question on face book: if you had the opportunity to be 18 again what will you do all over, a lot of people talked about following their dreams and not studying what daddy or mummy wanted them to study).

Page 95:

"After graduation I did not have to worry about where I would go next. The system was so well organized that as we left university most of us were instantly absorbed into the civil service, academia, business or industry. We trusted-I did, anyway-the country and its rulers to provide this preparatory education and then a job to serve my nation. I was not disappointed".

(hmmm this cannot be said about the Nigeria of today as it is so difficult getting a job right out of university. What happened? And how can this be fixed? Topic for another day)

Anyways as I read along or maybe in any of my post I will try and post little excerpts from his book.
I must go now as I have to still be in the celebration mode, not with a laptop on top of my laps and jamming away.

Merry Christmas folks and a Happy new year. 


  1. My Dear,alot of history has been removed. The world over,seems like an interesting book.

    Compliments of the season.

  2. Same great wishes of the season to you, Ibifiri. You see, I'm still trying to digest Achebe's story in 'And there was a country', but he simply has given the youth a peep into what the older generation enjoyed in our beloved country. I consider it a call for change, which must begin with each person.

  3. Yes change has to begin from each n every person.

  4. My son brought this book home as he is into reading Nigerian authors. I started reading it on Christmas day. I totally respect Chinua Achebe's voice just like I do Wole Soyinka's and Chimamanda Adichie's when it comes to lacing historical facts into their works. The only thing he has said so far that I raised my eyebrow at is when he talks about how writers should be more concerned about the quality of their work instead of spending so much time praying that people will read......I am all for writing quality stuff but I would rather you tell me something I wrote
    'spoke to you' than you tell me it was an excellent piece of prose or something.......Still reading though. Happy New Year in advance Ibifiri!!!!

  5. Yep I am with you in that one. I will rather people read my book all over the world and critique me. Tell me what they think about it. Happy new year to you as well. Yep I will continue reading.

    1. Can i differ a bit.
      A well written prose will draw readers like flies to the honey pot. Its the kind of book that gets nominated for awards, that is called classic, that will be taught in schools and used as a reference to other writers. What other fame or touching lives can you want than that?

      A book can have controversial opinions, it can reaffirm beliefs, it can be fantasy but please God, an author should not aspire to write a book that lacks excellence in prose ( bad syntax, editing, flow, the hallmarks of good prose).
      My 2 kobo's worth.

  6. I agree with you, I think a lot of the minority tribes need to tell more of their stories. Otherwise before we know it, we will begin to lose OUR history.

  7. How can we get the old Nigeria back? good question. like Funmi said, maybe if more Nigerians write about life in the old days, it will make the younger ones realise that that it has not always been like this and maybe inspire us?!
    Happy reading and a wonderful New year to you and yours!

  8. I would love to read that book. Unfortunately it has also stirred up some controversies among Nigerians as some people do not agree with what Achebe wrote. Which is why i strongly believe that instead of sweeping history under the carpet, we need to talk about it. The question then becomes who will tell the story? who will be the judge of whose story is accurate and whose is not? (bearing in mind that we sort of still have a divide among the tribes in Nigeria). As for me, Achebe has written from his own eyes and has told the story the way he experienced it. All said and done, I would love to read the book.

    1. very true. those who have criticized him should write their own book and detail their experience.

  9. ive read a number of reviews and i really want to read this book. hopefully i get around to it this year. Happy new year Tamu