Monday, 10 September 2018


Here in this work, it is the unusual - very unusual - childhood passion of the "boys" (author Bolaji, and Apantaku himself) for literature that strikes one most. 

It is as if since they were kids, they are on a mission, bent on becoming successful writers. Hence as we read in this book, even in their mid-teens, they were already writing novels, and indeed had early works accepted for publication by a major publisher.  

This burning desire to distinguish themselves as wordsmiths, no doubt motivates most creative writers from an early age, regardless of colour, creed or race. I particularly remember the case of Peter Abrahams, who was to explain (in books like Tell Freedom) that from the time he was very young,  he just wanted to write and write. 

Even those from very indigent beginnings - like Es'kia Mphahlele, would also testify that in their youth, they just relished reading and writing. As posterity would have it, on his own part, Bolaji the author here, would go on to somewhat fulfill such dreams (I believe), with Apantaku not so lucky in this wise. 

But in this work, Bolaji at least keeps the legacy of his childhood friend alive, bristling with the quintessence of literature. And Apantaku becomes a burnished symbol for Africans who innately revel in reading and writing even without any illusory apotheosis. - M .B Mantu    (also on goodreads)                                                                   


  1. This book is an emotional one to read, so concise, eclectic and powerful. I love the example of the great early writer, Peter Abrahams, that the reviewer mentions here. After all, Abrahams would inspire many of the early all-time greats of African writing, like Ngugi, Ama Ata Aidoo, Dangarembga, and later on, even Bolaji himself.

  2. Interesting new review of the book. Thanks.