I am particularly excited that the Nigerian literary scene is expanding and growing with many writers contributing unforgettable stories to our literary world. Cheluchi Onyemelekwe-Onuobia is an author that should be celebrated because she has an incredible gift of telling simple, everyday stories with all the emotions that it invokes; leaving you deeply engaged in the world she is trying to portray. It is not surprising that her debut novel, The Son of the House has been shortlisted for the NLNG literature prize. Let me give you 5 reasons why you should read the book.
- The storytelling is brilliant. The book opens with two women being held hostage and both deciding to share their stories while they await their fate. Nwabulu and Julie’s stories seem like two alternate universe and suddenly they collide and the story takes a dramatic turn.
- Superb character development. The characters in this book especially the main characters are given enough attention by the author. Nwabulu’s story starts when she was a little girl facing the hardships meted on her by her step-mother. Julie’s story doesn’t go that far back, but the author introduces the reader to Julie as a young girl with big dreams choosing to make a life for herself. The author allows us to see these young women struggle and then blossom. She doesn’t minimise the pain and the reader goes through the emotional roller-coaster that the story takes him/her on.
- The author explores the beauty of friendship among women. Not many books show this very well. However, this book is laddled with women coming together to surmount the obstacles society puts in front of them. It is these friendships that offer comfort to them and helps them make the decisions that they end up making. The friendship between Chidinma and Nwabulu; Obiageli and Julie and later, Nwabulu and Julie.
- The plot is well built and engaging. The plot of this novel is linear though written in three parts, the reader follows the story sequentially. The plot moves at an even pace and the author does a good work in showing the relevance of each event in influencing the characters.
- The book runs through time and takes into account the socio-political climate of each time. The author narrates the story from the 1960’s to the 2000’s. She is able to show the changes society undergoes and how the women in the story navigate through changing tides. Therefore in talking about time, we see growth, change, resolve and strength in the characters.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list but it is just to push you into picking up the book to read. The story is sure to get your attention and make you turn the pages. Well done, Cheluchi. Cheers to more stories!