Arts & Entertainments

Exporting Nigeria’s literary culture, nuances

‘Dream Chasers’ is an anthology of short stories by different writers. However, in its diversity, the stories are relatively close to the Nigerian experience through the names, locale and themes. The seasoned writers wrote wonderful pieces in few words and each storyline cannot be easily determined by the reader because of the heavy use of suspense. Major Nigerian cities mentioned in the anthology include Ibadan and Port-Harcourt in Camouflage; Nsukka, Orba, Onitsha in the Magic Ring; Iseyin, Okeho and Oyo in the Great Discovery; Marina, Lagos in Love on the Marina; Ile-Ife, Onitsha, Surulere, Lagos in Tough Guys write poetry; Bere, Ibadan in the House that Hunger Built. Other locations mentioned in the book include USA, South Africa, Paris and Zimbabwe. The Nigerian content of the book is found in the themes of each story except in How I met Steve Biko and What Would Saffron Do?

The themes include: deception, intricacies of intercultural marriage, armed robbery, single parenthood and depression in Camouflage; Incest, Western influences are the evident in ‘The Little Girl’ with Bussing Breasts and a Bubble Gum Laugh; Insecurity, Insurgence, HIV/AIDS, Death of Neighbour, Information shared via Social Media were mentioned in The Curtain. Others are Voodooism, Gambling, Apprenticeship, Western education, Assumption, Religiosity explored in ‘The Magic Ring’; ‘Traditions in The Great Discovery’, ‘Depression’, ‘Loss of a grown-child’, ‘Foreign education’, ‘Dashed hope in Love on The Marina’, ‘Intertribal marriage’, ‘Affection in Too Much Pepper’; ‘Extramarital affairs’, ‘Reminiscence in “Fur Elsie”. Additional themes in the book include ‘Fraud’, ‘Impersonation’, ‘Disgrace’, ‘Financial challenge as reflected in Double Wahala; Joy of reunion, joblessness, desire to travel abroad, daring nature, love in Tough Guys Write Poetry. ‘The House that Hunger Built’ is related to the tall Yoruba narrative similar to the Amos Tutuola’s style of Africanism.

The other two stories have African themes such as xenophobia, supporting acquaintance, bribery, doggedness, professional knowledge and assault in ‘How I met Steve Biko’ while suspicion, unaccomplished mission, despotic leadership in What Would Saffron Do? The language of the text is lucid and concise.

Interestingly, the text is domesticated because Pidgin is infused into the book and this makes the book relate closely with Nigerian readers. There are few errors in the book, however, it might be limited to the particular copy, which are negligible. The book is largely and proudly Nigerian. It is a way of exporting our literary culture and nuances to other cultures and countries. The book is another distinct piece from Nigerian writers.

 

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