Review by Choice Review
A brilliant, provocative, opinionated work, this study of the contemporary Nigerian novel is likely to prove controversial. The author's thesis is that Nigerian is an English language and that Nigerian writers have failed to come to terms with the complex response such an admission demands. Maja-Pearce attacks most modern writers, particularly Chinua Achebe, for casting Africa's tribal past in the role of innate Africanness and assigning roles of foreign enemy agents to imperialism and colonialism. The result of Nigerian novelists' refusal since Independence to deal with corruption as a Nigerian fabric and not as the aftermath of colonial imposition is a literature lacking in moral persuasiveness and novels floundering in irresolution. Maja-Pearce is a hot-headed critic who knows how to employ angry rhetoric, and his passion has a raw force. He berates contemporary novelists who indulge in messages of the past (false ones to him), and he demands novels with illumination, situated in the present, that would stem the tide to the chaos he sees. In his overview he punctures holes in the reputation of the received lions of Nigerian literature (the one exception is Wole Soyinka) for their desire to celebrate a dignified precolonial history. Yet his unmasking does not allow for inherent contradictions in literary art, and his demand for firm resolution has a dangerous potential of intellectual propaganda. Recommended. Graduate; faculty; general. M. Tucker; Long Island University/C. W. Post Campus
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.