Monday, 12 October 2015

WHY ARE WE SO BLEST? By Ayi Kwei Armah

'The author, Ayi Kwei Armah, elicits extraordinary respect from around the world, and deservedly so - after his phenomenal contributions to African literature over the decades. Why are we so blest? is his third published novel, nowhere as popular as his initial Beautyful ones are not yet born. Yet the style and ideas are the same, intellectualism and ideologies; role of artist(s) in Africa... Main protagonist here is Modin; Aimee, the white American girl, and Solo, the north African ideologue, so to speak. We read about Modin in America and his studies and impressions there. We are introduced to Jefferson, who incidentally suffers from impotence. The author is characteristically bland and dispassionate. As a pundit noted "Armah's account (of prof Jefferson's impotence) lacks the faintest tincture of that compassion which usually accompanies recognition of tragic facts" The vista of this work is wide, embracing different continents and countries. Modin and Solo get acquainted and somewhat bond. Modin and Aimee remain close and very intimate, till the grim end. And a grim end it is indeed for Modin as OAS terrorists set upon him and his girl and horrifically castrate Modin and leave him to die... Aimee is released after being raped, and she can tell Solo what happened; Solo grieves and feels a big sense of loss. Note that Solo in this work reminds one of Baako in Fragments, as both indulge in artistic isolation, without tangible social contact. A very well written novel which leaves one quite sad in the end.' - Eric

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