All posts filed under: Literature

Chibundu Onuzo talks love in The Spider King’s Daughter

“She doesn’t treat anyone like an equal. That’s the way she’s been brought up. She’s like her father; but she still manages to have moments of kindness.” Chibundu Onuzo is defending the protagonist in her debut novel, The Spider King’s Daughter. She sits opposite me in an airy delicatessen in London Bridge, a fork dancing in her hand, her youthful face animated. She’s supposed to be eating a plate of mushroom pasta, but after I suggest her story of friendship across Nigeria’s economic lines cannot really be a friendship when the rich man’s daughter, Abike, insists on referring to the book’s other central character as The Hawker, denying him an identity beyond his poverty, Chibundu launches an earnest defence. “She was raised in a very unhappy home. I applaud Abike for all her humanity,” she insists. Chibundu is softly spoken and self-effacing. There can’t be many 21-year-old university students who find themselves juggling essay deadlines with promotion for a published novel, and there are certainly no others who can claim to be the youngest female …

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

If you took GCSE English then chances are you’ve read a Mildred D Taylor novel. My sister and I were ahead of the curve. I read everything she read and since our Nigerian parents restricted our movements to school, Safeway and the local library, I’d read everything Taylor had published long before I stepped foot in secondary school. It was in her books I first heard of segregation. It took me a while to make the connection and understand that parallel to the dirt-poor Waltons who lived on Waltons’ Mountain and whom we watched religiously on a Sunday morning, were black communities languishing under the mass deception of ‘separate but equal.’ Yet while Taylor’s narratives engaged me, it was her authorial voice, the musicality of a unique English dialect that enthralled me. She stood on the shoulders of Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker in telling stories in that colourful, metaphorical voice intrinsic to the Deep South. I hadn’t planned on reviewing The Help for this site. A story about African American maids written by …