Friday, January 14, 2011

Voice Of America: Osondu's brisk, unadorned prose is powerful

If you live in the West, dear fellow African, then the path to the Western Union knows you. Unless, of course, you are one of the few ones from a rich families. I'm not. And E.C. Osondu's stories make me smile and laugh till tears run. Whenever I get calls from Nigeria I pray that the words "Western Union" do not rear their shitty heads in our conversation, and when they do not, I usually end the conversation this way: "I love you."
Chei, an aging Igbo man telling his 81 year old mother that he loves her. And in English!!

Anyway, here's a short review of E.C. Osondu's stories that will help you understand me and other "Western Union" pilgrims:
"There’s a neat irony in E C Osondu’s title for his debut collection, as the majority of these flinty short stories are set in Nigeria. Yet many of the characters here have a relationship of sorts with the US (where Osondu now lives), be it the refugee children who dream of being adopted by US parents or the mother who writes to her son who has emigrated to the US asking why his Western Union payments to her have dried up."

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