And After Many Days shares the story of a Nigerian family in anguish after the disappearance of their elder son, Paul. Initially, they had hope, assuming they will find him in few days especially after alerting the police and news media. But days go by, months and even years yet there was no trace of him. To help the reader in understanding the circumstances that led to his disappearance, the narrator takes us back to the family’s past.
The narrative focuses on both the past and present days, and introduces the reader to Paul’s brother Ajie, his sister Bibi, his mother who they all call Ma, and his father who strangely they call by his first name Bendic. This is strange because Nigerian culture does not allow children to call their parents by their first names. Even their auntie thought it was strange and disrespectful and tried to get them to stop but they are so used to it that calling him anything else feels weird to them.
The narrative also focuses on issues going on in Nigeria, some include corruption (no surprise here), the bad state of the aviation industry (the parents narrowly escaped dying in a plane crash), the injustice in the legal system, and how the oil industry is ripping off and destroying their hometown.
Although, this book was about the disappearance of Paul but as a reader I didn’t even get to miss him because he was in most parts of the book just like everyone else. And also because I had hope just like his family that he will be found. Reality of his disappearance only hit me towards the end of the book. One of the questions I asked myself after the first few pages was “who is the narrator?” I told myself it was Ajie, Paul’s younger brother but then I wondered why he would address himself in a third person. This is my first time reading a book that’s narrated this way.
Once you pick this book up, whether you like it or not you will be forced to finish it because of the strong curiosity to find out what really happened to Paul. I was so connected to this book and even went through some of the emotions along with the characters. This proves to me that the author is a great writer and considering this is his debut novel, I definitely look forward to reading more books from him.
This is the second and last book I read in June.