Friday, January 13, 2012

Allah is Not Obliged...

Our people say:
Yoruba: Oore tí a ṣe fádìẹ ò gbé; bó pẹ́ títí a ṣomi tooro síni lẹ́nu.
Eng: The favor one does a chicken is not for nought; in due course it will make stew to delight one's mouth. - Yoruba Proverb.

This is how this books starts. When I bought it at Farafina, Lagos, I started reading in once I got home. As soon as I read the first line, I thought, Oh no! Let's put this aside and have it as dessert. Great decision because after very tough and more in-depth books, the lightness of this story (even despite the war and wild-west context) was soothing. Birahima is hilarious. Such a good book. If Ahmadou Kourouma were alive, I would love to listen to stories at his feet.

Page 1.

Birahima uses his dictionaries (which were gifted to him) to dig out big words and then explains to the reader what the words mean as if he grew up understanding these words. What's funny is half the time, he abandons the actual definition and just explains it the way he knows best.

Page 126

Haha, Birahima sha. I'll stay with this character for a long time just like I did with Uwem Akpan's characters.

Page 163

The book is saturated with innocent comments like the ones below. Well, innocence or sarcasm depending on how you see the world. 

Page 176

Page 203

Birahima is a child-soldier. So, his storytelling is very much like that of a child but his environment shows up in the words he uses A LOT. Faforo, walahe, gnamokode, nigger, fuck, shit, bitch, etc.

Biko, because of literature, read this book!



  1. LMAO...sounds like a winner to me! If only history books were written with as much "pun"!

  2. *rolling* this is my kinda book, hilarious but serious and enlightening. Will be on the look out for it

  3. This is definitely a must read...

  4. Mz T,

    The title of the book is 'Allah is Not Obliged' by Ahmadou Kourouma.


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