Saturday, 28 April 2012
Despite the fickleness of time, I was able to finish reading Ifeanyi Ajaegbo’s debut novel, Sarah House, published by Picador Africa a few months earlier. I noticed that one recurring motif in the novel is the ubiquity of doors – doors are always either opening or closing, almost like in Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street, in which house recurs throughout the novel. Unlike Cisnero’s which is a short story cycle, that is, an interlinked collection of vignettes, almost like Doreen Baigana’s Tropical Fish, Sarah House is a compelling story of hope on the whole, particularly exploring though at a deeper level (like Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street) the sexual objectification of women, and the world of sleaze and filthy lucre. Ajaegbo’s writing is unhurried and confident, his diction controlled and tight – nearly as lean as Hemingway or McEwan’s prose, or El Saadawi. I hope to do a review of it once time and space befriend me, but who knows when? Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Sarah House, a novel which tackles the grim theme of sex slavery and organ transplant trafficking, and the darkness in the heart of (Africa?) man.