The Whispering Trees

The Whispering TreesThe Whispering Trees by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a throne section in my house for African writers. I put my greatest reads on this section and wait for a dethroning. Well, the Whispering trees just dethroned most African books I have read so far. Have you ever read a short story collection so good you had to purchase another book by the author? That is what happened to me. The beauty is that it is not just one or two stories that are good, it is the WHOLE collection.

The book starts with Twilight and Mist a story of Ohikwo who on the eve of his 32nd birthday meets someone who claims to be his mother. There is just one problem with this claim, the woman didn’t look older than seventeen. But if she is not his mother, how does she know everything about him? Intriguing?

Not as Intriguing as the book title The whispering Trees. Here a young man, Salim, has his dreams of becoming a doctor shattered when he is involved in an accident. In a blink of an eye, he loses his sight, his fiancée and his purpose for living. Just when he thinks he has lost everything he develops a gift that lets him realize that “happiness lies, not in getting what you want, but in wanting what you have.

The book weaves through other lovable and hateful characters, From the beautiful housewife infatuated with her garbage man in The Garbage man, to two medicine men tasked with saving their village from a plague that ravages their village in Cry of the witch.

This collection is pure gold with characters that jump at you from the pages and breathe your own air. It weaves African beliefs and modern-day life in a beautiful yet simple way that you experience every moment with your heart in your throat( not literally). You have a touch of political oppression in one story then

There is a touch of political oppression in one story then you are swept in a wave of magical realism in the next leaving you breathless with every page. You will peel layers upon layers in these stories finding hope in some and in others accepting death as the natural check of everything good and evil. You will wonder at the decisions of some characters gauging them to your own and will probably applaud the courage of some of the characters.

Shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African writing 2013 and longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for prose 2014 this book promises entertainment, Life lessons and a place in the throne room. We thank God for Abubakar the award-winning writer and his command of the written art.


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