I read This House is Not for Sale by E.C. Osondu over the weekend. It is a collection of vignettes, organized around the conceit of “Grandpa’s house” on the outskirts of (maybe) Lagos, where misfits and miscreants share a common roof under the (reasonably) wise tutelage and patronage of “Grandpa” who appears as a deus ex machina in most stories to resolve the problem. Written in a style that I am coming to label “classical Nigerian” (spare, unadorned prose) though with occasional forays into a more experimental style (“Ibe”), the vignettes are mostly compelling. But it is hard to pinpoint why the book is worth reading. The stories are nowhere near as memorable as, say, the stories in Ben Okri’s Stars of the New Curfew, even though they deal with similar themes of the misery that afflicts poor people in urban Nigeria. Osondu is a really good writer, and I look forward to a proper novel. I think he will do a fantastic job.
Blogs I Follow
- I get it and I don’t get it…. mocking earnestness and mocking people are not the same thing
- Excession, by Iain Banks
- I listened. The Republicans are not saying much. Rep. Sensenbrenner (R,WI) offers an oped in the New York Times
- Greatest song ever recorded, for its voice, and lilting but complex melody: Myan Myan by Coupé Cloué
- “Sevastopol” by Emilio Fraia in The New Yorker
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