Soyinka Releases New Book in Nearly 50 Years

Prof. Wole Soyinka has released a new book, after nearly half a century since his last work.

The Nobel Laureate’s last book was The Interpreters, many wondered if the 87-year-old Poet will ever write again. But now he has delivered yet another.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the new book, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth is a political novel.

The novel picks up just as Nigeria — or the author’s stand-in for his home country — is gearing up to celebrate its annual Festival of the People of Happiness, yet another example of official doublespeak.

The ruling People on the Move Party (“POMP”) have turned the country into a vast, innocuous reality show even as violence, fanaticism and ruthless plunder wreak havoc across the land. But when Dr. Kighare Menka, famous for tending to the mutilated victims of Boko Haram, stumbles upon a black market in human body parts, the nation’s ugly secrets begin to surface.

The Book’s Cover.

And that’s just the beginning of the conspiracies, which stretch from a charlatan preacher named Papa Divina to the president, Sir Godfrey O. Danfere. The mysterious death of Menka’s blood-brother, Duyole Pitan-Payne — who came of age with Menka during the hopeful early years of independence — tightens the web of intrigue.

What did he know? Who wanted him dead? And when, exactly, did Nigeria sink so low? These and other questions — personal, moral, social and political — percolate through Soyinka’s acidly comic take on his country’s “grim contest in human desecration, physical and mental.”

When asked why it took him so long to complete another work, he said “Mostly technical. I work — like most — directly from my laptop. I am not a sequential writer, so each session does not necessarily take up the story where it left off. Now, imagine resuming work where you thought you had left your characters. The oftener you click that “save” button, the deeper you dig yourself into a hole — no, into several tunnels.

Curled from the Los Angeles Times.

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