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From The Caves of Rotten Teeth: Personal Reflections

The collection of stories is a good companion any time, any day. Since it is a collection, I chose to start from the last story. Though, warned that the book is a collection of difficult words, I decide to use my novel-wise experience to enjoy the stories without the words disturbing me. Indeed, I did. Each story has its own character, attitude and emotions. Each introduces issues, develop them and leave the rest to the imagination of the readers. After reading about five of the stories, I concluded that the author has a way of telling his stories to leave the conclusion to the readers. Or may be it is the format of the short story genre that forces the story teller to do so.

But here, the story teller crafts his stories in a lucid form that makes the reader follow through to the end. Even though I disagree with the images that flow throughout the collection, I still find (in a frightening manner) that his narrations are truthful and down-to-earth. The pictures painted are gory tales of poverty, hopelessness, dejection, unemployment, degradation , destruction and barbarism. The collection captures the striking realities of our cities and the disorderliness that engulfs them.

The first story paints a vivid picture of the life of the nomadic beggars that litter our urban motor parks and their struggles for daily survival. This confirms my fears that their country (many of them are said to have come from Niger republic) and our continent are wasting a lot of human resources, and, I can’t help but think of how better they could have been if educational facilities were their for their use.

The second story, Dream Chaser, is a grim reflection of how our young boys evolve to become yahoo-yahoo boys. It is refreshing to read a story detailing the signs of the time. It is a spotlight on the game of deceit called online dating. Sad enough, it shows how best young Nigerians are willing to use the world wide web for nothing but fraud. It is sad yet the home truth.

Pot Pourri is a comic story of marital infidelity . It is a game of cheating and of being caught. The story is funny. It is very, very funny. A loss is a story of embarrassment. It is a tale of being boxed into a corner with no room for escape. It is a narration of the tricks that providence can play on anyone, just anyone. On A Night With Two Friends And An Empty Oil Drum shows the true colour of corruption in the Nigerian police. Not only that, it depicts the dangers faced by an armless police force. Most importantly, it shows the rot in the Nigeria Police force. Even An Angry Wind Leaves Nothing in Its Path is a bit incomprehensible, to me. The next story is a bitter – sweet narrative of the injustice that the Nigeria bureautic system can mete, and still metes out, to Nigerians. Or how can a person who has just been given appointment a day be retired the next day after a meritorious service for 35 years! This is a girl that has looked for a job for long. This piece captures the unemployment level in the country. It says it all and boldly: Not what you know but whom you know.

The father, the son, the pastor and the holy spirit is a tale of bigotry and merchandise in the religion circle. It details the tricks that accompany religious gatherings in the country and how the so called men of God cash in on the ignorance of their followers seeking miracles of all sorts.
The phoenix, an award winning story is an irony in narration. It is a story of ambitions. It is a sad end of an ambitious armless man who in his bid to lift himself up ends up losing his life. It showcases the barbaric tendency of urban dwellers who usually take laws in to their own hands. It is a reader’s delight. The last three stories are socio-economic comments on unemployment, get-rich-quick syndrome and parental deprecation.

In all, the collection of short narratives is a good read. It is a budding writer’s attempt to capture the realities of his environment in clear, vivid words.

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