Blunted on Reality is the first book by indie author, Chinedu Achebe. It is set around the time of Barack Obama’s election in 2008 as the first black president of the USA. It is the story of Obi, a Nigerian man in his late 20s soon to be 30 and his challenges with love, career, family and friends.
This is Mukoma wa Ngugi’s second book and the sequel to his first book, Nairobi Heat. I read Nairobi Heat last year and really enjoyed it. So, I was very excited to read Black Star Nairobi. I started this book with great expectations and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. I was engaged and on the edge from beginning to end. This book was so well written, and the characters (already well established in the first book) were developed enough to refresh the memory of those who read book one and also to help those reading for the first time to understand what exactly is going on.
This is the first book by Chimamanda I’ve read that didn’t tell a single story. When I opened the first page, I had assumed that the book will be all about the first story. I really enjoyed the story and was looking forward to reading more about how going to prison changed Nnamabia’s life. But the next chapter was a completely different story. That caught me by surprise.
I enjoyed too many stories in this memoir but I will only highlight a few of them. I enjoyed the story about how he came to America even though he was initially denied a visa. I thought he was very lucky to have known someone who had the kind of power to influence a visa decision. In addition to that, he was personally invited to America by Prof. Chinua Achebe to take on the role of the founding editor of the first ever African Commentary magazine.
Antagonist is Natasha Hussein or Natasha Wilson, a half Russian and half Sudanese professor of Islamic studies who despised her last name because of Saddam Hussein so changed it to her Scottish step father’s surname, Wilson. Natasha is doing a research on the life of the Muslim leader, Imam Shamil, who led the anti-Russian resistance in the Caucasian War. As luck may have it, her star student, Osama Raja, who is called Oz or Ossie to hide bearing the same name as Osama bin Laden, is a descendant of Shamil. Oz invited Natasha to his house to meet his actress mother, Malak who confirmed the connection to Shamil and even showed her the sword Shamil fought with.
The Opposite House tells the story of Maja, a black Cuban living in London with her family and boyfriend, and Yemaya who lives in Somewherehouse, which has two doors that lead to London and Lagos. This book focuses on immigration, culture, searching for truth and discovering oneself.
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.