Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Book Review: 'The City Heroes and Other Stories from the Heart of Africa' by Omoruyi Uwuigiaren
‘My favorite meal is a roasted bird and two slices of bread plus a cup of lemon tea.’
African author Omoruyi Uwuigiaren was born and grew up in Ojo, Lagos, Nigeria, Africa. As a young adult, he attended school for Mass Communications. Ruyi (his nickname) soon discovered his talent for the arts included drawing cartoons and writing children's books. Ruyi currently lives in his hometown where he writes for children in his authentic African style. He has published two books to date – THE ADVENTURES OF NIH and now THE CITY OF HEROES AND OTHER STORIES FROM THE HEART OF AFRICA.
Not only does Ruyi write well, but he also is a very gifted illustrator. He divides his book into six stories - The City Heroes, The Jungle Ants, The Country Boy, Stranger on the Farm, and Baby Thomas and Blaize and the Master of Enchantment. Each story is unique in storyline but each story reflects the atmosphere of Nigeria.
From the title story sample the following: ‘The night was a dead as a doornail and Lady Tranquility took her seat in the neighborhood. Dag, a frustrated cat in the pool of old age, had nothing better to do than lie on the rooftop of a bungalow that was begging for renovation. The cat gazed at the beautiful earth that spread before him as if it were a balance sheet under the nose of a shrewd accountant. Dag was not alone . Other cats that had also known misfortune lay around the old cat like a pasture clothed with flocks. Dag cleared his throat and said, ‘I have no passion for living anymore. How can we exist without offending?’ ‘That is for the next world!’ said Fred as he scratched his hindquarter. Raising his head and yawning, Pork said, ‘It is impossible to walk through life without enemies. It may be better to live in isolation. Bt I have yet to see an isolated man who is happy.’ Dag sighed as if the hands of impossibility had challenged his. ‘Did I tell you my master has not fed me for two nights?’ he asked his friends. ‘No, but I have heard that bedtime story before,’ said Pork as he sighed and turned away. “I will never forget what that old man did to me,’ said Dag as he shook hi s head. ‘I have never seen you in this mood,’ said Pork. ‘Tell us, what did he do to you?’ ‘Three nights ago I chased a rat in his kitchen. The little devil disappeared into a hole in the wall, which was near my master’s sop pot. I wanted to leave the kitchen, but I knew that as soon as I’d gone, the rat would come out of the hole and devour the sop. So I stayed back to keep vigil over the old man’s meal and possibly snuff the life out of the foolish rat if he ventured out of hiding. As I lay silently in the corner, hoping I would take care of the unfortunate sol of the opportunity presented itself, I heard a squeak and was not disappointed when I raised my head and saw the rat. It was heading towards the sop pot on the table. Seeing that the rat was too close to the pot, I pounced.’ Etc
Rich in atmosphere and beautifully placing animals in human situations, Ruyi proves he has a talent in both writing and illustrating books for both children and adults. He is a refreshing new voice! Short book full of joy!
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.