Tag Archive | nigerian authors

Excerpt from ‘The Green Fridge’.

‘The Green Fridge’ is the last story in my collection, ‘Walking On Eggshells’.

 I wanted to write about a marriage where the love had fizzled out, and where the couple could no longer articulate to each other why they were unhappy. They would rather focus on mundane activities, such as buying a new fridge. 

‘Walking On Eggshells’ is available on Amazon and Okada Books.

Please get your copies and share this post with your friends.

Happy reading!

Ivie.

Short Story: The Copycats Among Us (Part 1).

Elsie stood at the entrance of the conference room, observing the spectacle before her.

It was almost 10am. The executive meeting was supposed to have started at 9:30am but was running late because the Big Dog (a nickname for the MD-which he endorsed) was tied up in a Skype call with their London office.

Elsie had just returned from the restroom and had reached the entrance of the conference room when she heard someone say, ‘…and that’s how I came up with the pitch to expand our market to Lagos’.

Bilkisu, Elsie’s supervisor was the person who uttered these words to her rapt audience of fellow executives at Primrose Management Consulting Ltd.

This statement was news to Elsie because Bilkisu, in the two years Elsie had worked with her, hadn’t come up with a single innovative or original idea.

Elsie stared at Bilkisu, while she was still rooted to the spot. Bilkisu wore a skirt suit which was an eye-watering shade of orange, her hair was slicked back into a Brazilian-weave assisted ponytail, and she wore an extraordinary amount of jewelry. Else usually felt like a dowdy 90-year old woman beside her when they went out for client meetings.

As a supervisor, Bilkisu was very hands-off, barely giving Elsie’s pitches or reports a cursory glance when she presented them. Elsie always felt like she was doing something wrong: nothing she wrote or researched ever seemed to be up to Bilkisu’s standards.

‘Elsie, I’m sure you must be very proud of your Madam’s new ideas’ said Tunji, the Head of Finance.

The words brought Elsie back from her reverie.

She smiled and took a step into the conference room, looking at Bilkisu, who couldn’t seem to make eye contact with her.

‘Yes, I’m very proud of her’ Elsie said, as she took her seat opposite them.

Tunji smiled-Elsie knew that being her friend, he was aware of the true nature of things. Bilkisu had the decency to look uncomfortable.

The air in the conference room was very stale due to the Abuja heat. There was no electricity and the generators had developed an unidentified fault. The windows were open, but very little breeze blew in.

‘Yes, I’m very proud of her’, Elsie repeated, as she used a document to fan herself vigorously. She was glad that she had worn a short-sleeved blouse with her grey trousers. She was also impressed with herself for saying the words with a straight face.

Tunji and Bilkisu continued to make conversation and the other occupants of the room-Brian the Head of Legal and Kofo the Head of Human Resources-continued with a conversation of their own.

Elsie was alone in their midst but she did not mind, she had her thoughts to keep her company.

She observed Bilkisu’s facial expression as she spoke earnestly to Tunji. Bilkisu tended to have a constant look of being constipated; Elsie suspected that it was meant to be her ‘sexy’ look.

Bilkisu was only three years older than her, but you would never know with the way she carried on, Elsie mused. At age 27, this was Elsie’s first job after she had completed her National Youth Service. So far, it was her monthly salary alerts which motivated her to come to work each day, and not the job itself.

A bracelet on Bilkisu’s wrist caught Elsie’s attention-it was silver with the word ‘believe’ engraved on it. Elsie stared at it for a while, remembering when she had worn the exact bracelet about 2 months ago. Bilkisu had asked her where she had bought from, and muttered a disdainful ‘oh, ok’ when Elsie said she bought it from Primark, the U.K. clothing store known for its affordable (or cheap, depending on who you asked) clothing.

Now, staring at the bracelet on Bilkisu’s wrist, Elsie suddenly felt light-headed.

She thought about all the time she had wasted wondering what she was doing wrong, when in fact it now appeared that she was doing everything right.

Why else would Bilkisu take credit for her own ideas, or buy the exact bracelet which she had looked at with disdain when she had worn it, thought Elsie.

No, she was doing everything right.

Elsie smiled.

She realized that she was no longer in awe of Bilkisu.

***

Bilkisu felt cornered.

She had been so absorbed in telling Tunji the story of her “successful pitch” that she had not noticed that Elsie was standing at the doorway.

Why did she walk so damn quietly, anyway? Maybe she was wearing those cheap rubber-soled shoes again, Bilkisu thought.

She saw no harm in taking credit for the successful pitch-it was a team victory after all.

Bilkisu had almost started to believe that the story she told Tunji was true. His face gave no indication that he doubted her; he had nodded and responded politely.

Bilkisu couldn’t help herself: despite Tunji making it clear years ago that he wasn’t interested in a relationship with her, she kept trying to get his attention, to conjure up his interest in her.

The conference room was quiet, except for the sound of muted conversation by their other colleagues. Bilkisu suddenly felt Elsie’s eyes on her wrist. She looked down and saw the ‘believe’ bracelet, the same one she had sneered at when Elsie wore it some months ago.

She quickly covered the bracelet with her right hand, but Elsie had already seen it. Elsie said nothing, but merely stared at Bilkisu, who resisted the urge to squirm.

When Bilkisu had traveled to London for a week-long break the previous month, her first urge was not to take advantage of the warm August weather to do some sight-seeing. Rather, she took the tube to the Primark store on Oxford Street, near Tottenham Court Road. She had walked into the store with single-minded determination and taken the escalator up to the jewelry section, where she picked up the bracelet for herself. It had cost £5.99.

Bilkisu couldn’t explain why she needed to buy the bracelet so badly. All she knew was that after she saw Elsie wearing it, she couldn’t take her mind off it. She knew that she would not rest until she had bought the bracelet for herself.

Bilkisu didn’t know why she disliked Elsie so much. She was pleasant enough, and pretty in an obvious way. However, since Elsie joined the firm as her subordinate, Bilkisu had derived perverse pleasure in being the most unhelpful supervisor that anyone could have.

It was bad enough that the MD now insisted that Elsie should attend managerial meetings.

Imagine that!

 

(Part 2 will be on the blog next week!).

 

Written by

©Ivie M. Eke 2017

 

 

 

Solitude.

 

The looking inwards for one’s self.

The opening of mental doors which were formerly shut.

The looking for answers inside dark corners.

Hidden corners.

The hidden laughter and subdued tears.

The conversations with God.

The learning about one’s true self.

The surprise and the disappointment.

The struggle to understand and the acceptance.

The discovery and the delight.

The energy surge and the resignation to weaknesses.

The humanity of self-acceptance.
Written by

© Ivie M. Eke 2017.

 

5 Books By Nigerian Authors Which You Should Read.

 

I am currently reading three books at the same time. I have a system where I read a couple of chapters of each book before moving to the next one. It’s one of my favourite pastimes.

I recently took some time to read books by Nigerian authors which I hadn’t read since my childhood or which I had never read before now.

Here are five books by Nigerian authors which you should read:

  1. ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe.

Why you should read it: From the first page, Achebe gets straight to the point about Okonkwo’s story: there are no wasted words. You feel Okonkwo’s frustrations as though they are yours, and this almost guarantees that you would finish this book within a very short timeframe.

‘Things Fall Apart’ gives great detail about Igbo traditional culture, and the effects of British Colonial rule on the lives of the indigenous Nigerian people.

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.

 

2. ‘Jagua Nana’s Daughter’ by Cyprian Ekwensi.

Why you should read it: Unfortunately, I was unable to find the preceding book, ‘Jagua Nana’ to read, but Ekwensi does a great job of helping the reader to link both stories in this book which presents Nigerian life in a very cosmopolitan manner. Here, Liza, a successful Lagos-based lawyer is on a search for her mother, Jagua Nana.

It is a refreshingly entertaining book, with detailed descriptions of sex and extramarital relationships among the elites in Lagos, where a lot of the story is based.  Will Liza finally find her mother? You will have to read it to find out!

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.


3. ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Why you should read it: This is my favourite book on this list. It’s the first book by Adichie which I ever read back in 2007. I have read all her other books and articles and watched her TED Talk videos, and I can say that this book still ranks as number one of her work to me.

There is an ease with which Adichie describes some situations which are very Nigerian and relatable. Kambili, the protagonist, experiences life under very affluent and difficult circumstances, and the story takes us on a journey about the effects of dysfunctional family relationships. If you must pick one book on this list to read, please pick this one.

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.

 

4. ‘News From Home’ by Sefi Atta.

Why you should read it: I love a good collection of short stories, and this collection by Atta is one which I could not put down once I started it. Each story is a window looking into different Nigerian eccentricities and lifestyles. I would recommend this book as a guide for anyone who wants to know the different ways being Nigerian could be interpreted.

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.

 

5. ‘The Joys of Motherhood’ by Buchi Emecheta.

Why you should read it: This book captivated me from the first chapter and I felt both relieved and sad when it ended. The book takes us on Nnu Ego’s journey, a mother whose experiences of motherhood and marriage are bitter-sweet. The book moves from describing the contentment of village life to the hardships of making a life for yourself in the city. A splendid book.

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.

 

Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know in the comments!

 

Ivie.