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Book Review: Violence by Festus Iyayi

A beautiful novel centered in a contemporary Nigerian setting. This is a realistic novel that show cases the exact happening of our society of then and still happening now.

Violence as the title depicts has four major character: Idemudia, Adisa, Queen and Obofun. Festus Iyayi is a realistic writer that focuses on mostly societal and political issues of the country. He uses the four major character to portray this very well, in the book.

His description in the novel especially the setting, is so spectacular, I could imagine life then and as it is being lived now. Idemudia, husband to Adisa is a strong, determined and hardworking man, endowed with strength and dignity. A kind hearted man from a polygamous poor background who was unlucky with his ungrateful father, fought for the right of his mother, that led to him, his mother and siblings being chased out of their father’s house.

He married Adisa, a beautiful and loving wife, Idemudia would do any work except stealing to feed himself and his wife, Adisa. Their poverty as portrayed his the novel is such a gripping one, one would hold one’s head in the bowl of the hands and question such life. After waking in the morning, they had to be quiet to listen to the “time of the day” from a faraway radio, that’s how poor they are. Idemudia will sometimes sell is blood in pants to feed himself and his wife, they live a day or two, without having nothing to feed themselves with, they had no job and there was no Job for their kind.

Queen, a ruthless rich woman, who has everything going on for her through the help of her husband who named all his businesses in her name. This gave her power (hedge) over others. She encountered Idemudia, who helped her with her car when It got stocked in the mud, Ungrateful Queen drove off without appreciating, later waited few miles away, to offer Idemudia Job, asking him to come with 3 other men, to offload 500 bags of cement. She offered them a small fee. The hunger and weakness in Idemudia after the job led him to the hospital.

This led to his wife sourcing for every means to take care of her husband. This led to her meeting Obofun, Queen’s husband who came to Idemudia’s house while he was still in the hospital, accusing him of stealing cement. Adisa defended her husband.

Obofun noticed the beauty in Adisa and tried to lure her, he succeeded by forcing himself on her and then gifted her 100 Naira and offered 5 cartons of drinks to sell at lower cost. This was due to the impending hospital bills and also fight to save the life of her husband.

Queen, a beautiful woman, uses her body to get whatever she wants, including government contracts from the ministry. She loves to use people without paying or otherwise, make payment with her body, to the extent of offering herself to Idemudia, so he won’t organize strike action on her site where he was working. She is an example of the rich who care less about the poor, she abuses power to whatever extent she choses.

The societal issue in the novel portrays the level of inhuman act by the government who milk the citizens, showcases the level of hardship in the economy, very poor standard of living, lack of job and a very deplorable economy. The Hospital always filled with sick people yet, lack of care for the citizen, they are, as portrayed in the novel, sent to their death if they could not afford hospital bills. It is that bad, sick people are placed on the floor, for treatment.

Another form is the poor pay workers receive for the high risk job given to them, if they do not receive it, there are hungry worker willing to take the job.

There is the theme of sex, as a tool for getting what you want in the economy. Queen and Obofun are guilty of this. Queen would sleep with anything just to get herself what she wants while Obofun on the other hand, just want to satisfy himself because he believes he can offer what the other party needs.

Abuse of power as portrayed by Queen, who will lay off workers who ask for more pay or pay them very little just to get her job done.

The theme of Love between Adisa and Idemudia, who never let the glitters of the society take their dignity for the love they both have for themselves.

The novel is embedded with lots of themes like poverty and the likes and methaphor as a novel written in the 70’s, it still depicts what still happen in our society today.

It’s a must read.

Book Review by Nimota Dauda-Ajao(Neematdiary)

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