9/11 stories: The Second Death of Martin Lango by Helon Habila
A phone call from an old friend sets Charles thinking of his former life in Nigeria, but the connection between Lagos and Washington DC is difficult to establish in this new story from Helon Habila, the latest in Guardian series of short fiction to mark the anniversary of 9/11.
"I won the visa lottery and moved to America six years before. Like everyone else, I wanted a piece of the American dream, little realising how long it takes to get it. My master's degree in business management had only got me a job as security in the local Giant superstore. But it was okay. When Martin called I only had two years to wait before I'd get my American passport. I was thirty five, and single."
A Novel of Pirates, Zealots and the Somalia Crisis, A review of Nuruddin Farah's Crossbones
"Farah demonstrates how war profiteers make lucrative careers out of chaos. The bloody Ethiopian invasion, which received significant backing from the United States, not only foments anti-American sentiment, but also makes the most secular Somalis sympathize with the religionists. Young Taxliil’s radicalization, too, is a function of both his association with militant clerics and America’s misguided “war on terror.” The only political element Farah is markedly restrained about is America’s fickle and damaging cold war involvement in the region."
Sentinel never disappoints. This issue features short stories by prolific authors such as Chuma Nwokolo, Esien Ekpe-Ita, Conquer Tukokumo Igali, and Chiemerie Nnamani Okenwa. There are poems by Obemata, Ibrahim Sambo, Giwa Abdulazeez, Anietie James Okuku, Osayi Osar-Emokpae, and Enuka Chimezie. In The Sentinel Nigeria interview, EC Osondu, Caine Prize winner and author of Voice of America speaks with Eghosa Imasuen, author of soon-to-be-released novel Fineboys. Interesting article by Ahmed Maiwada on the intertextuality between Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Colleen McCullough’s novel The Thorn Birds and Adichie's Purple Hibiscus here.
"It is safe to assume at this point that the proponents of Adichie’s debts to Achebe have rested their cases, having realised how they have fallen prey to Adichie’s perfectly sold first-sentence dummy. It is left to address the group that champion Adichie’s “originality”, probably led by Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo. This group is urged to re-evaluate its position in view of the extra-ordinary closeness that characterise the structures, characters, language and plots of these two novels – The Thorn Birds and Purple Hibiscus— which go beyond the intertextual, beyond the acceptable limits within which one piece of literature may relate to another."
"Salem Avenue had originally been lined with brick houses built in the 1930s when the British colonialists were still very much around. They had an old British country feel and look, from the way the roofs were laid-in triangular cascades-to the little gardens that lined the drives. With the gradual transfer from white colonial settlers to black local inhabitants, most of these houses had changed in appearance and were now colour washed in faded greys and off-whites. Others had been rebuilt or renovated by new owners and developers. These stood out jarringly like large, dead cockroaches in a bowl of milk, with their bright colours and awkward architectural designs. Now they harboured typewriters and computers instead of television sets; stiff chairs and formal desks instead of armchairs and cushions and metal cabinets in place of wooden cupboards.
There used to be a small park at the end of the street for Sunday picnics and solitary strolls for those who loved watching the sunset. But the park had been the first landmark to disappear and in its place, a motel was erected. The residents of Salem Avenue wrote protest letters to try to stop the builders, only to learn later that the owner of the motel was the council boss's cousin. It was soon after the construction of the motel, that some property owners on Salem Avenue sold their homes which were then renovated and converted to business outfits by the new owners, right under the nose of the local government. Slowly, the residential area morphed into a pseudo-commercial neighbourhood. The remaining residents simply lived with it and soon they, too, no longer thought about the tranquillity of the past."
Hope this keeps you busy between work, at lunch...hope it helps you sail through the week, with ease!