Author: Emmanuel Iduma
Genre: Fiction ( Short Story Collection)
Publisher: Parresia publishers
Generally, I believe that Farad speaks very controversial issues as told by the author. It’s like he’s discussing certain aspects that he is not really happy with or has had a personal encounter with and writes them as stories. He switches from ethnic bants to simple lifestyles that echo through poetic dysnchrony. He doesn’t give a complete ending because he wants us to reason with him and come to our own endings. This is just my humble opinion.
Chapter 1- The Memory Band
Drama, psychosis, romance and mystery.
The first story reeks of these three themes. It is set in the post-Abacha regime. Emmanuella, Ella for short, is the sister of Goodness, Goody for short, and a former student of Frank, Goody’s ex – boyfriend. When Goodness reaches out to Frank for help, he is torn between his loyalty to Ella and his muddled emotions for Goodness who left him to marry a rich Military man (Who can relate?😒). When he tells Debbie about his ordeal, she advises him to do his best to bring Ella back.
“Debbie looked at him and smiled. This time she did not look at him with pity, but as one would look at a friend who knew too much, who was too intelligent. “Are you normal, Frank?” He did not answer, but he smiled. She continued, “This is not about normalcy. This is about memory.”
We see a bit of Goody’s perspective, as she struggled with decisions of mind and heart. Marry Frank or not? Boss Ella around or not? She is ridden with guilt as she believes it is her fault that her sister is in this current state. She could have stopped her from being the mistress of a dictator, or so she thinks.This story is riddled in mental themes as it is not certain who is normal or not, and if normalcy is even absolutely normal. It ends in a most hilarious way too.
Chapter 2- One man
Rev. Munachimso is an Anglican priest who clearly has something he’s hiding. Set in Jos where there is religious tension heightened by the incoming elections, Munachimso lives a relatively peaceful life, that is, until he gets a very unlikely visitor. A young Muslim girl named Taibat, the daughter of a well – known Yoruba Muslim in the area. She comes to warn him of the uprising against him by Muslims in the area and advises him to leave as soon as possible. Munachimso, who claims to be logic resistant, ignores all her warnings. She seems to be very adamant as she visits two more times. On one of her visits, Muna begins to see the possibility of doom.
“It was perhaps this second meeting with Taibat, which followed my first meeting with Mr. Olisa, that inscribed the feeling of an inevitable tragedy in me. Having lived a quiet life since I had come to Jos, I found it appalling, even irreverent, that I would be targeted, as Taibat said, for death. It made no sense.”
An accumulation of his experiences, past, present and future bring us to an understanding of what Muna is and how his change was much needed. But I have questions, How was the daughter of a devout Muslim able to go to a church three times to warn a priest? Was she sent by her dad? Was he the Imam Muna met with earlier? Why was Muna the only one spared in the mass murder at the vicarage?
Chapter 3- Helper
This story transcends a typical story setting and moves to communicate emotions. It was more than just a single narrative of his experiences, it was a laud reverbating echo of the deafening silence caused by the death of Ugo. It was a story of coming home, of admonishing boring routines, questioning established canons and working towards a place of recovery.
“During the time I wrote my final exams, I felt haunted by my filled hands, by the fact that I was carrying too many selves within me that weren’t me. I discovered, during that period, that I didn’t know myself. I didn’t have the knowledge that could be to me what music was to Ugo”.
Chapter 4- The museum of silver lights
The deeper I delve into the book, the higher the levels of melancholy. As are most of the chapters of this book, it is laced with “ethnic hegemony” and some surprise which we are to figure out eventually. Christian, the narrator, sounds more fluid than real. Maybe it’s because the work was so well written but without an actual story? Emmanuel worked to transend the usual but I believe he knotted up along the way.
Chapter 5-The sound of things to come
Mo is a thinker but Edwin seems to be a believer. Mo is self-centered but Edwin seems to be other-centered. Mo is at odds with her life but Edwin seems to be extremely happy with his. Beam seems to bring out an already existing problem with her constant night dreams and screams. How can two be so different but similar? I think Emmanuel focuses on philosophical issues and explains how it has ruined a marriage. I really do not know why but every part of the story has no aim, it’s like a story told for story-telling sake and was there a need for Beam to kill herself?
Chapter 6- Monkey’s wedding
All this moody deathly scenes that are perplexing! The lonely girl meets lonely man who’s about to die, and it turns out she is the link between father and son, the recurring story of the choir master who seems to be an important part of this whole story yet whose narrative we are yet to experience. A rounding off of the total story seems imminent, my only hope is that it is worth it.
Chapter 7- A father’s son
It shows the unnecessary influences of a lonely father on his son. The father is the chaplain of the interdenominational chapel which we encounter all through the story. He lacks a wife and support hence, holds on to his son. I love and still appreciate the communication of emotions that Emmanuel tries to show, the love for photography took me off guard and I wondered how an African parent could take it all so calmly. It looks like a glimpse into his personal life and as all writers will do, a bit of spice won’t hurt anyone.
Chapter 8- Farad
Finally! Frank is back! And it’s a summary of only one of the stories in the book. The final comment by Frank seems to be the one connecting statement in all the stories.
“There’s always something immeasurable that moves a man to go ashore.”
Think on it.
My conclusion, this book is just too deep, it is riled in poetic narratives and disjointed plots. It’s a daring thing to do; writing without the aim of connecting stories but Emmanuel is a writer worth his salt with a bit of polishing. Did I forget to mention that all elements of the book are loosely centered on a church and its choirmaster?😂
About the Author
Emmanuel Iduma is a writer, editor and art critic with a degree in Law from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. He also recived an MFA in Art criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts, New York. He is the co-founder of Saraba magazine and the author of The sound of things to come. For more information check out his website at http://www.mriduma.com, for more on his editorials check out sarabamag.com, for his interview with the daily trust, click here
Rating- 3/5 stars(⭐⭐⭐) meaning it is readable.