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On bathos and pathos, a reflection on the on-going boju-boju in Nigeria

Noel Ihebuzor
When an ever enlarging comedy has the effect of overwhelming you with sadness,
it is no longer a comedy, no matter how innately talented the actors are in the art of the comic.
When tragedy slips out of control and verges towards the ludicrous,
it loses its capacity to inspire pity.
Soon bathos and pathos will converge.
And before long, the audience finds itself unable to feel either pity or compassion.
Rather, it finds itself increasingly burdened by the weight of ineptitude on display,
and irked by the profound shallowness and triviality with which serious matters are being treated by clumsy clods.
Clumsy clods are at their most farcical when they take themselves seriously,…..
and when sick souls in pursuit of selfish agendas sequester a sick man,
putting him out of reach of his constituency and out of touch with reality,
preferring to put utterances in his mouth,
when a group of elected officials go off at public expense for empty photo shoots with the hale and hearty
and return home with excess baggage of shopping
full of hackneyed expressions,
unconscionable and empty
they also reveal the depth of their own sicknesses and their burgeoning moral bankruptcy,
their very hollownesses.
Cry, the beloved country. Cry for that country where the rich and privileged go abroad to visit the sick.
Cry, the beloved country, cry for that country because the trips of the privileged sick abroad
to seek medical care speak of the deep sickness of our health delivery system.
Cry since the sick medical system, victim of neglect by the privileged now takes its revenge
on those who supervised and benefitted from her neglect!
Pathos and bathos now reunite.

Say You’re One of Them.

Unforgettable book, that treats such wide ranging topics from child smuggling to rage, irrationality and genocide, to the pogrom in Nigeria to the hell that is Kibera and many more. Touching & Haunting and I still am unable to understand why some critics depreciate it as a case of Pity Porn!

Fiction & Development

Uninhibited, Despairing, Tragic, Frustrating, Bleak, Vivid, Provoking!  Talk of a book you will hate to Love… this is it. This Jesuit Priest cum writer Uwem Akpan has done for vulnerable African children what I think many writers, legion of documentaries and western mass Media have not. He travelled into the depth of these children’s darkness with a Candle light to reveal to the world how life has smeared their windshields.

Despite being a New York Times #bestseller, making the Caine Prize list and being notably selected by the Oprah Book Club, I was discouraged IMG_6751from reading this book severally by friends who found it a very difficult read. Now I know why. The author Uwem Akpan in this collection of short stories did not write to entertain, he wrote to inform. In capturing the detailed realities of children in modern Africa, the writer ought to write like…

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The Heart of Darkness

Great Review of a novella that treats colonialism and racism. Some isms never die! Btw, I saw ‘la chicotte” when I served in the DRC!

Fiction & Development

My first thought was that this book had to be a Sea Man’s story and yes it was. On a pleasure ship called Nellie, a narrator who remained unknown through the novel introduces us to men bonding on the sea; one of them was Marlow. Through casual mediation, Marlow reflects on the dark places of the earth as England would have been before the Romans visited it.

Charlie Marlow shares the glories of his exploration as a fresh-water sailor, wanderer seaman whose home is the sea with a passion for maps. He is familiar with living in the world of water and the silent surroundings. Fascinated by the delightful discovery of the unknown places, he finds an inviting place on the map and hankers after it.  It was that mighty big river resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving…

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Daughter of Dust

A must read. The description of FGM is raw, graphic and very touching. One can almost feel the pain of the victims. My attempts in
are not as successful!

Source: Daughter of Dust

Musing on The Brontë Sisters

Nothing affected in her reviews – just a reader engaging with writing and being frank and natural with her opinions – I like this!

Source: Musing on The Brontë Sisters

Whither Nigeria?

Noel Ihebuzor
saber rattlers have seized the foreground
on a tattered,tiring and tired floor
jokers and jesters,
hustlers and jostlers
with ill defined mandates
pretend to speak for constituents
with fuzzy boundaries,
(some drawn for tongues,
others contrived assemblages,
specious oddities in space),
in this madding maddening crowd,
in the sullying crudity,
sense and decency cease
reason is treason
dialogue is drowned
by the chorused curses
of angst possessed demagogues
and all, all, are sucked
onto a withering lane
towards a vortex of violence


Tinapa! Dying still breezes

Drying Mango trees

Yawning empty coconut leaves

 melons and torsos

 that no longer flutter

Even in an earthquake

A testimony to waste

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