Saturday, November 7, 2009

The lost promise of outrage

One day, when the story of the renaissance of African literature is written, it will probably begin like this: There is Caine Prize, there is Adichie, there's Chris Abani, Helon Habila, Petina Gappah, Sefi Atta - have I missed your favorite, ah, Chikwava, Uwem Akpan and many more.
That day the story of our literature will be written, the first page, or at least the second, will surely contain words like these: Ikhide Ikheloa was a midwife, an excellent midwife, who sometimes pinched the pregnant woman to push harder, pricked the child to cry. Cry, baby, cry. Here, he has perfected the fine art of prodding, urging and shepherding of artists to realize their promises (no pun intended). A beautiful review of Ogochukwu Promise's Outrage.
Here's one of the many beautiful paragraphs:
"Art imitates life’s reality. The frustration with all of this is that there is a beautiful story in Outrage. In the indisciplined hands of vanity printing, the result is a tedious disaster. It is a rich but inchoate tale told by a talented storyteller whose voice has been garroted by communal mediocrity largely beyond her control."

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