My review of Arrows of Rain by Okey Ndibe

The fictional country, Madia is based mostly on postcolonial Nigeria. If you know nothing of postcolonial Africa this book will give you a small history of events that took place during that era.

Some major characters – Bukuru, Iyese aka Emilia, Femi Adero, Dr. Mandi aka S.P.J.C. Mandi.
– Bukuru is the falsely accused rapist and murderer. A former journalist who stripped himself of his identity and lived an anonymous life. People identified him as a mad man due to his appearance.
– Femi Adero is a journalist who spent most of his adult life searching for clues about his birth parents.

– Dr. Mandi is the second psychiatrist chosen by the judge to reevaluate Bukuru. He’s an underdog caught in the injustice system who later became Bukuru’s confidant.
– Iyese (real name) aka Emilia (fake name for her clients) is a prostitute who was brutally raped and murdered. She was also Bukuru’s love interest.
– General Isa Palat Bello is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Madian armed forces. He was Emilia’s former abusive client, accused by Bukuru of raping and murdering her along with some other prostitutes.

Arrows of Rain told the story of a former journalist turned “mad man” aka Bukuru who was falsely accused of raping and murdering a prostitute whose corpse was discovered at the beach by the lifeguard on New Year’s Day. He was also accused of being a serial rapist and murderer. Although, this accusation became very questionable when another prostitute was raped and murdered while he was in custody. But the police brushed it off as the work of a copycat. Bukuru was arrested and two weeks later he appeared in court representing himself – this put a huge question mark on his supposed insanity. I wondered how a mad man could represent himself and make so much sense with his arguments? The psychiatrist who evaluated him was called as a witness and he testified that Bukuru was far from insane. “He found him to be quite discerning, lucid and possessed of rational faculty.” Although, his sanity was again questioned by the judge when he identified Madia’s head of state, General Isa Palat Bello as the rapist and murderer. This caused commotion in the courtroom and forced the judge to appoint another psychiatrist to reevaluate Bukuru’s mental state. The new psychiatrist (Dr. Mandi) ended up becoming a strong ally of Bukuru and helped him to win over a young journalist (Femi) who would later share Bukuru’s story to the world. Bukuru’s story dated back to different incidents that happened when he was a young journalist. It explained how he came to know prostitutes and their horror encounters with soldiers. It also explained his love relationship with Iyese and how that relationship became the reason he chose to live life as a “mad man”. Femi also shared his story which finally exposed the secret of his birth.

Arrows of Rain is already the best book I’ve read in 2016 so far and it looks like it’s going to be among my top best by year end. It was very engaging and intriguing. It was hard for me to put it down and when I did it was all I thought about until I picked it right up. I enjoyed the book from beginning to end. However, I must say I was disappointed with the ending. I definitely didn’t predict this ending which is very good but at the same time I needed more to it.

Will I recommend Arrows of Rain? Definitely yes! Just don’t wish for any type of ending because chances are it won’t be what you think or want.


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