Book Review: And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile **Partial Review**

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

Note: I did not finish this book. It just wasn’t my thing, but I read a little more than half of it! I just try not to read things that don’t fully appeal to me because there are books that I want to read and I don’t want to force myself through something I’m not interested in. This review is only on what I read, and I’ll try to be as thorough as I can.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ (More like 3.5 but I round up for half-stars)

Genre(s): Fiction; Cultural Fiction

Plot: [From Goodreads] During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But his search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens old, long forgotten ghosts as rumours of police brutality, oil shortages, and frenzied student protests serve as a backdrop to his pursuit.

In a tale that moves seamlessly back and forth through time, Ajie relives a trip to the family’s ancestral village where, together, he and his family listen to the myths of how their people settled there, while the villagers argue over the mysterious Company, who found oil on their land and will do anything to guarantee support. As the story builds towards its stunning conclusion, it becomes clear that only once past and present come to a crossroads will Ajie and his family finally find the answers they have been searching for.

And After Many Days introduces Ile’s spellbinding ability to tightly weave together personal and political loss until, inevitably, the two threads become nearly indistinguishable. It is a masterful story of childhood, of the delicate, complex balance between the powerful and the powerless, and a searing portrait of a community as the old order gives way to the new.

Pros:

  • The beginning (first 30 or so pages) had me intrigued
  • Reading about different cultures is informative
  • The historical backdrop within the plot is pretty important. It actually drove me to do a lot of googling.

Cons:

  • After about 1/4 of the book, it started to drag and I started to lose interest
  • Normally I don’t mind books that switch from past to present, but the transitions just weren’t smooth and didn’t work for me

My Thoughts: It just didn’t do it for me. Which is a bummer because I really put a lot of time into trying to read this book. Ajie was probably my favorite character, but as the book went on, I felt like he became less important and less of a main character. I’m sure that this book appeals to certain audiences, but I am not part of them.

Link:
Goodreads

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