A young Igbo man moves up in society in this debut novel.
Odinakachukwu “Odin” Ndukaku grows up an orphan in a Nigerian village. For the first 29 years of his life, he only worries about getting enough food each day and doesn’t think about the future. But when his roof starts leaking, he decides to build himself a proper house and start working toward a better life. His friend Ndu and his family, along with several neighbors, help him toward his goal, and they also begin searching for a wife on his behalf. Along the way, he learns the importance of hard work, planning ahead, and good friendships. In the process of finding a wife, he’s also introduced to the Christian Church for the first time. The book includes a helpful glossary of Igbo terms at the end, as well as a list of characters. Odin’s story is optimistic and offers good advice, particularly for younger people, about how to live a successful life. For many readers, it may also serve as an educational look into a culture that’s different from their own. However, it’s also completely devoid of conflict. After Odin gets over his initial apathy in the first few pages, there are no obstacles between him and achieving his goals, and his interactions with other characters are nothing but kind and cheerful. As a result, the book has no real plot; it’s merely a list of things that an ordinary man does in a series of ordinary days, and as a result, most readers may find it dull. The characters’ lack of personality and flat dialogue doesn’t help; for example, Odin’s first thought, upon seeing his future wife, is that “She possesses all the physical features needed in a woman.” Unfortunately, this book possesses few of the features needed in a story.
A well-meaning but tedious exercise.