An unforgettable debut novel about a boy who goes missing, a family that is torn apart, and a nation on the brink
During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But his search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens old, long forgotten ghosts as rumours of police brutality, oil shortages, and frenzied student protests serve as a backdrop to his pursuit.
In a tale that moves seamlessly back and forth through time, Ajie relives a trip to the family’s ancestral village where, together, he and his family listen to the myths of how their people settled there, while the villagers argue over the mysterious Company, who found oil on their land and will do anything to guarantee support. As the story builds towards its stunning conclusion, it becomes clear that only once past and present come to a crossroads will Ajie and his family finally find the answers they have been searching for.
And After Many Days introduces Ile’s spellbinding ability to tightly weave together personal and political loss until, inevitably, the two threads become nearly indistinguishable. It is a masterful story of childhood, of the delicate, complex balance between the powerful and the powerless, and a searing portrait of a community as the old order gives way to the new.
Product Details (Amazon):
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Tim Duggan Books (February 16, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1101903147
- ISBN-13: 978-1101903148
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
Being a member of Generation Z I have a short attention span, but “And After Many Days” reminded me of what’s so great about literature. It takes the struggle of men and women in trying times, of families struggling to to make it through the hour much less the day, of a nation that is going through an internal tug of war and makes it oh-so compelling in terms of scope and story telling.
My own nation Bangladesh, went through a war in 1971 and my grandfather’s younger brother was a freedom fighter named Assad Zaman who went missing in action when our own country men -turncoats- turned on us and executed him during a mission. There is a monument dedicated to him named “Assad Gate” in khorki Jessore his hometown. To be clear the monument serves as a grim reminder of the sacrifices that were made and acts as a tangible narration of the idea of freedom and indicates that the nation was built on selflessness and a meta identity which supersedes the necessity for only furthering the agenda of individuals.
Much in the same way, this book calls to mind once again that there have been and continue to be struggles all around the globe and that we should not be removed from those fights in terms of moral support because they too are people fighting to survive against oppressive regimes as well as opportunistic corporations deeming it high time to turn a profit.
Verdict: The jury -various aspects of my personality- decided that the book had reasonable pacing and layered plot structure but instead of sticking to one solid messaged it had several diluted messages. Just my opinion.