August 29th, 2010

earthsea

August Books 34) Aké: the Years of Childhood, by Wole Soyinka

Rather a sweet memoir of growing up as the headmaster's son in colonial Nigeria before and during the second world war. I liked it more than Chinua Achebe; there seemed to me to be more interrogation of political and gender power structures - one memorable scene has Soyinka's mother yelling her rage down the phone at the local British official at the Allies for bombing the (non-white) Japanese rather than the (white) Germans. The other point that grabbed me was the lip-smacking portrayal of Nigerian cuisine. I would like to know more about West Africa in general, and I guess Nigeria is the way into it as the regional power; and I guess that Soyinka is one of the better ways into Nigeria.