Title: A Country Of Extraordinary Ghosts
Author: Onyeka Nwelue
Publisher: Blues and Hills
This book has such an interesting storyline. Taking us on a wild ride from Sodom (yeah Sodom in the Bible) to the slums of Lagos then Rome as we follow the narrator through his adventures. The narrator tries to get used to life in Lagos with the help of his only friend Bolu while trying to makes sense of how he got to Lagos and if he can return to Sodom. He takes part in all manner of debauchery just as he witnesses more of it around him. There is so much of it that some might say its unrealistic but it just goes to show how the world has descended into so much perversion. It highlights themes like rape, pedophilia, sexual abuse, religious hypocrisy, mental illness and many more.
In the words of Azeeza @The Zyzah blog, it has “a unique story line, different from the usual, with a narrator that is hard to hate or love” and I would have to agree with her. You might get irritated by the narrators antics and the actions of those around him but you also see the hopelessness of his situation and his desire to return home or at least share the same fate with his people.
I am not good either, my life from Sodom is a horrible one and I know. But I also know how bad it is to send the wrong message, to portray who you are not. To preach what you don’t practice. To practice what you fight.
This book starts off well, with the narrator fleeing Sodom as it’s about to get destroyed and landing in Lagos but the plot quickly becomes non-existent towards the end as it feels like the author got distracted and focused more on calling out a certain group of people. The ending was abrupt and I was left confused for some seconds, it feels like the book was rushed. At the end I was left wondering what happened to the narrator, did he find his way back or lived out his life in the present time or is this all just a made up story by a crazy man who is the narrator. It’s a pretty small book at just 144 pages but the pacing was off, too fast in some places and too slow in others. Some parts of it were hilarious while other parts were confusing with the time skips.
The rat ignored my question. It was the biggest insult of my life, a rat of all creatures. After the beautiful girls of Sodom snubbed me, a rat would also refuse to answer my question. I didn’t know if to take it personal or to let it pass, but one thing was sure. I was fuming inside of me.
Most of the characters are from Doctor who drinks a lot to Bolu who introduces the narrator to “life in Lagos” to Father who doesn’t follow what he preaches. The only normal character was Tini who I was immediately drawn to and wished nothing bad happened to her and she would get a shot at a better life.
A country of extraordinary ghosts shows the creative mind of the author , drawing inspiration from the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah in the bible and intertwining it with the present day world while exposing the hypocrisy and selfishness of man but like I said earlier it quickly falls apart . It is an unusual book that piques your curiosity but has the potential to be so much more.