Lonely roads is a book by the Nigerian Pharmacist and writer William Ifeanyi Moore, that vividly describes the reality of slavery, ethnicity, gender inequality, oppression and the evils of ignorance in some traditional methods. A raconteur in his own right, the author was able to tell the African story in 270 pages and 34 chapters with a tone as clear as day.
This is the first fiction book I have read in a long while and the first to be reviewed here; hence, I am going to be reviewing this piece a little differently. Rather than evaluate the story line and worry about plot and what-not, I would be striping its storyline off and analyzing the issues of concern and interest as I would do for any non-fiction book.
Lonely Roads is a novel that is set in the typical Nigerian (Igbo) village. It starts off with tales of the misery of a young woman who had been made an outcast as a form of sacrifice to the gods. We would later find out that she was sacrificed because of an illness that would have passed with the raining season.
Her illegal love affair with a renowned warrior led to her conceiving twins. As twins were perceived as a bad omen in the town, she left one child in the hands of the white doctor that delivered her and raised the other as her only child. Years later, her son who by birth was also an outcast, also enters into an illegal love affair with the daughter of a chief.
In a land where women have no say, the young girl is married off against her will to the son of the king in order to strengthen family ties with the royals and the young outcast she loved was sold into slavery to the whites.
The above summary should already reveal issues peculiar to the African community. First, making a woman a sacrifice to the gods as a cure for the breakout of malaria in the village sounds unreal but was once a norm. Prior to when the westerners were in Africa, many superstitious beliefs were in place and they led to the practice of certain wrong acts. This particular case is a thing of the past; however, there still exists some wrong cultural practices that are being portrayed in parts of Africa ignorantly.
The killing of twins did not end in parts of Nigeria till Mary Slessor put an end to it. Another gain for the Africans from the intervention of the whites I would say. Women, however, are still being regarded as the minority gender, the patriarchy system still trolls many African homes and marrying out young girls against their wish still lurks.
The book showed the effect of the power of minority wealthy families and how they could subject the lives of the poor to hell in order to get what they want. Slavery which was the focus, took us back to the days where the whites regarded the blacks as commodities. The author made a point of ensuring that the readers pictured the agony of the time with words that describe only immense pain and suffering. He emphasized how the whites viewed their slaves and exchanged them for money to be used for hard labor.
The storyline was wonderful until we got to the end and there was no happy ending. Is that how books are these days? So the long lost twins meet in another man’s land and there was no news of freedom for the captured slaves; the chief’s daughter stayed betrothed to her arranged husband and a mother was kept away from her only source of joy. The author was bent on showing the truth of a reality that is not ideal or always palatable; sometimes the good guys pay and the bad guys win.
In any case, Lonely Roads is a wonderful read with a very strong message that opens you to the struggles of the typical uncivilized Africa. I recommend it for young and old folks alike.
Although I am not a fan of fiction, I was excited to read this book because the author happens to be a personal friend. ‘Lonely roads’ has a strong message behind it. The beginning chapters drew me and held my attention. It was written in simple English and I like how the author creatively made us understand the meaning of the igbo words used without directly translating them. Inasmuch as I am not particularly pleased with the ending (some of us only crave happy endings), the book was fun to read. However, a little birdie told me we should expect a sequel to it; we can only keep our fingers crossed till then.
I rate this book 3.5 out of 5. You can give it your own rating below.
About the Author
William Ifeanyi Moore is a prolific writer and poet with a keen interest in developing society through literature. He has a degree in Pharmacy from Britain and his work has been published on numerous platforms including Venture Africa, NBCC, and the Naked Convos. He writes a weekly column for BellaNaija.com and some of his works can be seen on his blog.