Ikhide Ikheloa reviews Le Clezio's book,Onitsha
He is of the opinion that the otherwise well-written novel is no better than Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Here's a taste of his's assessment.
"Onitsha written by French author and 2008 Nobel laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio is a beautiful piece of fiction. Originally written in French and translated into English in 1997, it bears prose that steals your heart. Le Clézio can sustain quiet tension in a book and build up suspense. It does get silly in places where it succumbs to a puzzlingly mythical babble in which case it deteriorates from haunting prose to malarial hallucinations about the deities of Egypt and Ethiopia. As for the content and what it says about how the West sees Africans, it is an ugly book; for it reveals the insidious patronising attitudes of white liberals."
Personally I am tired of giving any attention to those works of fiction written by Westerners about Africa. The West seems to have devised an insidious means of pinning our intellect down to the game of defense, always having to redress their messy image of Africa. That pisses me off. The funny thing though, is that if we do not talk back, or at least show our disapproval, the messy image begins to gain some hints of authenticity. Still, I'm pissed off.
Anyway, here is Ikheloa's piece. ENJOY