“ Two: One Man
My life at the time was comprised of several face-washings. It was because of my nervousness, my heart’s refusal to be steady, my fear, the voices speaking gloom, and the imminent demise that I contemplated. (…) Each evening after I listenend to the news, especially on the evenings before the election results were announced, I went into the bathroom and washed my face. This became a graceless ritual, something I did without knowing what I was doing, perhaps only to look at my wet face in the mirror (…).
When I am in the car I begin to smile, looking in the rearview mirror, expecting to see my face has changed. It has not. I remember the days in Jos when I had the habit of washing my face. I remember Taibat’s hand on my head. I keep smiling to myself, thinking that I had survived, again. ”
Two ex-lovers come across one other when the woman’s sister needs physcological support after a breakdown.
Fathers and sons are endlessly reunited and separated in complicated circumstances.
In Emmanuel Iduma’s novel, no omniscient authority is above the individual look on one’s own life and choices. Each character represents a way to deal with the past and, more importantly, with the things to come.
Like in a polyphonic concert, the characters’ voices, harmonic or dissonant, create new connexions through their encounters. Like coincidences, the author says, they represent moments of (comm)union. Like a film using the back-and-forth time technique, this brilliant author explores the form of the contemporary novel by (de)constructing the literary fabric like a puzzle of voices and experiences.
So what could be the outcome of such a puzzling, puzzle-like masterpiece? If tension is methodically built until the end, it may be to show that what matters is not so much to give the reader clear answers as to keep asking questions and think of the possibilities they carry.
The Sound Of Things To Come by Emmanuel Iduma
978-0996577090 / The Mantle (2016)
Review by Ioana Danaila
Ioana Danaila was born in Romania. She graduated from University Lyon 2 Lumière with a Masters in African Postcolonial Literature and a First degree in French for Non-Francophone people. She is the author of a collection of short stories and a translator of books from French to Romanian. She is trilingual in Romanian, French and English, and teaches English language and literature to highschool students in France.