Thursday, April 03, 2008
Buchi Emecheta's The Bride Price
Now more than 30 years old, The Bride Price is a well-told if somewhat formulaic novel of tradition-modernity, choice-custom, men-women set in Nigeria, and a pleasure to read, especially for someone who wants to get an idea of how people might have been interacting as the city and countryside more and more encroached on each other in daily life. Coming back to my earlier postings about novels that try to get into the "minds" of the characters, Emecheta is really all story here and little "mind" - the complex thoughts of her characters are summarized in a few sentences, rather than a half-dozen pages. The most interesting thing in the novel to me is the tantalizing descriptions of people's somewhat ambivalent attitudes towards Chike and his "slave" family. If the focus had been on them and their interior thoughts, rather than on the conventional heroine Aku-nna, it might have been a superb book. By the way, no bookstore in Bolgatanga carries this novel. We'd love to have 4-5 in each library in northern Ghana, so if you are an American university student reading this for a class, and you have finished with the novel, send FAVL the copy and we'll forward to Ghana- PO Box 90533, San Jose, CA 95109.
Labels: african novels