Finally I have managed to finish a book. The reading mojo is back and we are cruising through literature *touches wood*. A few weeks ago on the 5th of April it was my birthday and a friend of mine gave to me as a gift this wonderful book. (I am still collecting gifts for the next 6 well 5 months.)
The Palm Wine Drinkard is a brilliant, absurd piece of literature. I adored it. I had never heard of Amos Tutuola (to my friend’s surprise) and had no real expectations and was subsequently terribly delighted!
All the Nigerian authors I have read thus far, Achebe, Adichie, Abani and Soyinka have all been wonderful. I have a great affinity for African literature and the Nigerians like their film making have found a unique way to capture their storytelling.
This is exactly what Tutuola is about. His style is one of a kind, his book reads like the narrator is sitting under a tree retelling a story that happened. Had he been one of my kinsman it would filled with “and then, and then, and then,” interspersed throughout the rather ridiculous tales.
The Palm Wine Drinkard (not drunkard) is about a man who just loves his palm wine and goes on a rather long journey in search of his former palm wine tapster.
The plot is quite ridiculous. It reminds me of an uncle of mine whose imagination knows no bounds. There is an element of truth in some of the personal stories he has told us over the years but just that, an element. The rest is pure fabrication and although you know it is far fetched you remain engrossed because it is highly entertaining.
Tutuola does not polish his language but writes in a style that is exceptionally unique and individual. Wikipedia says this was the first African book translated into English in 1951 and it reads like something that was directly translated. Done deliberately by the author, the language adds to the absurdity of the text but also the wonderful nature of African storytelling.
It is a delightfully short book that can be completed within a day. I’d say it would make a fun read for anyone keen on African stotytelling and folktales.
Happy to be back on this challenge. The past week or so has seen less series watching and more book reading and writing. Here’s to hoping we make it through all 50