Title: African Short Stories (Volume I), 2013, http://www.alibris.com/African-Short-Stories-Vol-1/book/26581451?matches=3
Editor: Chin Ce
Genre: African short stories
Literary elements: Symbolism, African realism, metaphysics
Comfort level: Deceptively simple reading, intense cultural and literary symbolism
****Fascinating note: Chin Ce is a Nigerian writer. He was born in Nigeria (1966) and educated at the University of Calabar. He has authored a fictional trilogy, "Children of Koloko", "Gamji College" and "The Visitor."
Synopsis: Welcome to the world of African metaphysics. Chin Ce, the editor of African Short Stories (Vol.I), 2013, envelopes you in the world of old, ‘African mystery,’ mystique, and stark, contemporary reality. This is no easy task, readers, for an author to visualize and illustrate. But, this author is Chun Ce and he is a master of the African literary arts. He devotes his first selection in this work, “Onku,” to the late master, Chinua Achebe. This story sets the stage for the other selections as it intertwines and flows. A griot uncle commences within Ce’s Oracle, to act as a guide and to propel his nephews (and us) in African Realism. We meet, “Satan,” by Patrick Tagbo Oguejiofor, in full regalia, in another story. The author’s depiction of Satan, however, is far more reality based than being a figment of African Realism. Oguejiofor‘s illustration of evil is the embodiment of far too many African fiends. But, the writer remains chaste to the African literary tradition in one central aspect. Satan is served a befitting justice for his crimes. I only wish all of Africa could be redeemed and benefit from the real, political villains of today being served justice for their crimes. Bonface Nyolde’s “His Leaving,” is a tragic story garnished with political overtones about imperialism and fate. The symbolism of a father’s passing and the son’s grasp of the hand of a colonial guardian are all too true. The loss of tradition and the impending onslaught of Western Modernity are cleverly illustrated in this selection.
I suggest that libraries include this book within their collections and await the next volume. Many legacies are being lost in Africa. Yet, the tradition of the African short story thrives to this day. And the tentacles of this ancient art form are evident in Greek, European, Caribbean, South American, and African American writing. This book celebrates the longevity of African writing.
Critique: This work, edited by Chin Ce, is masterful! What a teaching treasure this can be for a literary and history educator. I enjoyed the fact that the selections are compact, intense, and intriguing. This work is great for the App generation that may require a medium to be direct and not lengthy. I love it! The writers in Ce's collection are skillful, creative, and we are blessed to have the tradition of African writing continue. The Greeks learned so much from the African literary heritage. Studies have proven that the ancient Greeks migrated to Africa to study among the philosophers at the universities in West Africa. Chin Ce is impervious to change. His writing illuminate old literary arts.