Tuesday, November 29, 2005

ikhide r. ikheloa on books he read in 2005

It's not often one finds an article on the net, with a title complete with one's name. It happened to me and I shan't trouble myself demurring. I am delighted - and freaked out too, in a pleasant way. Ikhide R. Ikheloa has written an article on the books he read this year, sharing his own views about books vis-a-vis the internet. Ikheloa favours the internet over the book, and goes as far as to predict the death of the latter. But I suspect this talented writer who will one day be revealed as something of a comic genius - is not too serious when he talks about the 'death' of the book, for he goes on in the same piece to exhort African writers - Nigerian writers especially - to write! write! write!

The article is titled, 'For Molara Wood... Listen, The Book, The Book Is Waving Us A Long Goodbye...' As I stated in my response to Ikheloa's piece, the long title reminds me of the film 'To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar'.

Among the many books discussed is Ogali A. Ogali's Veronica My Daughter and Other Onitsha Plays and Stories. Ikheloa says the book, a classic of the Onitsha Market Literature genre, is a "hoot". He is fond of a character from the play, known as Bomber Billy - and paraphrases the bombastic fellow thus (prepare to laugh):

"Your statements must not indicate psychological defeatism in my cerebrum and cerebellum. You must not be a radio that utters useless words. Instead, let your conversational communication possess a cherified consciousness and cogency. Let your entamporaness, discernment and unpremitted expectation have intangibility, veroness and versity. Beware of platitudeness and ponderosity and learn to respect people's integrity. Above all, avoid pomposity, proticity, verobosity and rapacity!"

Ikhide R. Ikheloa has been known by the pseudonym, 'Nnamdi'. More of his Essays From Exile can be found on the net, including the Nigerians In America website.


Blogger Teju Cole said...

There's something delicious about a too-long title.

As for the book, it's still one of the best ways to present long stories and layered arguments. The question to be asked is whether our fidgety times want long stories, or have the appetite for a certain density of thought.

How does a generation raised on Powerpoint and Yahoo News enter into the head-breaking intricacies of "Death and the King's Horseman" or "King Lear"? The answer might be that they don't, and that we'll simply see more and more cleverness (all the world's factoids are just a google away) and less and less wisdom- the kind of wisdom one might get from obsessing over a single deep work for a period of time.

Off my soapbox now! Your pages are excellent...

5:50 am, November 27, 2005  

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