Book Review – The Concubine


 Ihuoma, a beautiful young widow of exemplary character…

These words make up the first sentence in the synopsis of this book and I found myself going back to it at each display of Ihuoma’s “exemplary” character.
Is she really a desirable model for women given her obsession with how she is perceived by other people, her fear or inability to stand up for herself? If a man displayed these same traits, wouldn’t he be labelled a coward, weak?

These are just some of the questions that have been whirling in my head since I put this book down, and while this is not the only disagreement I have when it comes to the roles and depiction of the females in this novel, it doesn’t/didn’t take away from the overall experience which was: Charming.

This book made me nostalgic for the old school Nollywood TVshows (Things fall apart, or was that a movie?) and my childhood. The ending of this book brought to mind the feeling I had after watching a certain movie on TV once. I never got to know the title of this film; It was also an incredibly charming story about love.

Anyways, the main characters had a big falling out. She left or went back home. He had his epiphany, as they do in these stories, decided to go get his girl. For some weird reason, he decided travelling by road was too tame and chose to cross the ocean instead. There’s a storm, he comes along a sinking boat, tries to help them, waves come crashing and the screen cuts to the lady (or goes blank, i can’t remember).

I remember this feeling like it happened yesterday (this happened over 10 years ago), because my sister was watching with me and she had seen the movie before. I asked her if that was the end and she said, “No, wait. It’s not over yet.”. So I waited, hopeful that this guy would magically show up at his lady’s door and apologise for being a blind idiot. I waited… until the credits were over and the screen turned to static.

It still hurts when I think about it.

Why would anyone be so cruel? To write such a beautiful story and give so much hope, only to crush the hearts of your characters.

And then there’s my sister who told me to keep watching.

Overall Reaction

Book Review - The Concubine - Homeland Reviews

Author: Elechi Amadi

Published by: Heinemann: African Writers Series

Date of Publication: 1966

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 216

Source: Bought

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Ihuoma, a beautiful young widow, has the admiration of the entire community in which she lives, and especially of the hunter Ekwueme. Obedient to the expectations of the traditional society they belong to, they forswear their love so that Ekwueme can marry the girl to whom he has been betrothed since birth. But their passion is fated and jealousy, a love potion and the closeness of the spirit world are important factors.

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