On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe. This is a powerful book about the lives of prostitutes from Nigeria in the brothels of Belgium. To write this very moving account of an oft neglected but very crucial social phenomenon, the author had to travel to the red light districts of Belgium and conduct one-on-one interviews with the prostitutes, and record their stories. In a recent interview, she confessed that she was able to earn their trust only because they didn’t believe that she was a writer, but a novice hoping to learn the secrets of the trade by asking around. The author Chika, a Nigerian writer, lives in Beligium with her family. Her first book De Feniks was the first work of fiction to be written by a Flemish author of African origin. Get the books, and read them. As soon as I finish reading it, I hope to come back with a mini-review.

In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyika. In judging this book first by its cover, I give deserved kudos to the artist who placed the map of my home town and the town of Oxford, UK on the two unknown faces that grace the pink cover. The novel itself tells the story of love that spans generations, continents, amidst several obstacles , passion, idealism, courage and betrayal. Of the book, this has been said: “…has the subtle power of a well woven work, nothing is out of place… it is full of surprises” among other nice things by journalists and reviewers.

The first chapter begins thus in a sentence of quite enticing prose: “One could begin with the dust, the heat and the purple bougainvillea. One might eve begin with the smell of rotting mangoes tossed by the side of the road where flies hummed and green-bellied lizards bobbed their orange heads while loitering in the sun.”  So far, it is a very good read.

I can’t explain why I read so many books at once, as I can’t explain why I keep acquiring them. All I know is that some times my mood requires a different kind of literary satisfaction. At some other times, another. I recommend these two good books for their entertainment as well as their literary value.

For my copies of the book, let me thank Tayo who got me an autographed copy from Sarah Manyika, and sent the book to me all the way from Nigeria, and Ikhide who gave me his copy of “On Black Sister’s Street” along with his review notes within its margins. Then Chika Unigwe, the author herself who graciously sent me a copy from Belgium.

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