This is the story of a 17-year-old boy, Paul Utu, who walks out of his home in Nigeria one day in 1995 and doesn’t return. His family is torn apart by his disappearance and struggles to go on with their lives without Paul. Paul was the oldest son in this family and was much loved and admired. The youngest brother, Ajie, is riddled with guilt since he was the last one to see Paul and he feels responsible in some way for his brother’s disappearance. The book goes back in time and details the family’s relationship to each other.
I enjoyed reading of the everyday activities of this strong, loving family. I admired these family members and thought the author did a very good job detailing their lives in Nigeria and the havoc that Paul’s disappearance caused them. But then the book veers off into stories of political unrest and the powerful oil corporations. That’s when the book began to lose me and by the time it turned around again and got back to Paul’s disappearance, I had lost the connection to that part of the story. There are moments of pure poetical beauty in this book and while I’m sure one of the author’s main intents in writing this book was to bring to light the Nigerian politics of the time, I wish he had stayed on the course that the beginning chapters promised. The violence of the political atmosphere in Nigeria does have a connection with Paul’s disappearance but that part of the book did cause me to lose interest. If this author writes another book that isn’t as politically grounded, I’d be interested in reading it.
This book was given to me by the publisher through Blogging for Books in return for an honest review.