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Incensed by the intrigues that characterised our social environment, Imagine Lagos and Other Stories takes a gradual slip into the market, taking a firm position on the Nigerian bookstand. The book is written by an emerging raconteur and poet, Philip Ngozi Ifechukwude. The English Language and Literature graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University uses the book to explore the goings-on literarily embedded in our way of life as it affects our ethnic, religious and cultural placing. The plots, most of which, bucolic, represents the ideal Nigerian setting and makes the readability presents a sense of belonging to any reader.
The Ibusa-born writer, who has hitherto published Wild Ixora uses literary tools of lampoon and satire to make a social expose on the flaws affecting our environment, especially the ignorant. Moral suasion also becomes the resultant effect of social anomalies and abnegation on our youths. The crass destruction of social order is exposed with the bid to address and attract attention to them.
The stories wear the arm of correctness to societal ills. They are well told narratives which aims at creating a soothing posture to the carking stress that characterised our environment due to the unstable economic situation. Quite interesting, the stories capture our everyday activities affecting our social life. The didactic lessons emanating from them are elixir to dissuade future actions. Issues of the family ranging from unstable relationships to irrelevant trifles are portrayed alongside inherent politics that affects the home, the polity and even churches.
Generally, there is an overbearing boredom created in the literary world today. Part of this is the inability of people to read for leisure any longer. This is because political issues seem to take over the trend. For this reason, the book presents stories that are soul-lifters, displaying the comic side of the society, despite the overbearing economic situation.
Besides, the collection opens a fresh vista in the literary angle by abridging the stories for easy comprehension rather than the long narrative proses, most times with ambiguous themes.
Majority of the stories are set in Lagos. “This is because the city is considered to be the commercial hub of Nigeria laced with a multitude of diverse activities ranging from the good, the bad and ugly sides of life. Imagine Lagos, as the title connotes, happens to be the star story that reflects the diverse activities that takes place in designated places in the city,” he said.
The author tells The Sun Literary Review on the locale: “This time, it is Bar Beach in Victoria Island where the hovering atmosphere depicts the cadences of a flooding fleet of thoughts into any first timer to this part of the city. The story is apt and narrated in a thorough bred Lagos language. If you are pondering over the ‘Lagos language’, note that the city has its traits baked in the oven of die-hard mindset of survival of the fittest.”
In the book, a story like “Good Evening Street” strike a reader’s mind with a high sensitivity of thought pattern.
It is a story of life of easy virtue by women and young ladies who sees nothing wrong in carving out means of survival through prostitution. “Iya Lateef”, another captivating story, remains a rallying point in the many intrigues that surrounds brisk canteen business popularly known as bukataria. To think that the calibre of people who patronise them cuts across the high and low in the society, makes it more interesting.
The fraudulent lifestyle of conmen who are cut out for making quick money and easy lucre is exhibited in the story “The Man in Velvet Suit”, while “Pastor Bonde” and “The Road to Mirage” are the other stories that have Lagos setting. The cultural traits of a people, especially the Igbo, are displayed in “The Crying Masquerade” and “The Wrestling Festival”. They reflect the beauty of our cultural practices with a mindset of forming a documentary for future references to the younger generations.
Imagine Lagos and Other Stories will be gathering a horde of literary lovers on Saturday September 9, 2017, at the auditorium of the Santa Maria Montesorri School, Alaka-Surulere, Lagos.