By Babatunde Odubanwo
I bid you welcome to a new literary journey of Onyinye Sharon whose impressionable work cannot be praised without the input of parents, editors and contributors.
This review engages a tradition that critiques, praises and observes the book for the entire reading public. Reviews are meant to make conscious the progress of literary production in the country from the breadth of first outings to the length of writers in fixated generations.
In this new book- Hunting tears, Sharon Onyinye delves into the annals of literary realism, one which is well ribboned with master storytelling ability, explicit details of subsequent events as well as articulate composition. Behind the reader’s mind resounds an inquiry about the title. The title imposes a persona to pain and anguish and opens a suspense to the narrative. One can’t but pause to ponder whether or not this brilliantly penned prose is the brainchild of a teenager. It is a laudable storytelling which subtly transverses the world of imagination using words as the wheel of voyage. Flipping through each page, one is constantly taken to worlds of satire, mysticism, anthropology collapsing into spellbound moments of suspense while the head remains buried in every single turn of events.
The landscape is traumatized by the gulf between a generation that laments a shallow youth population which is indicative of the low reading culture. However this book implies a vindication for the young people who will clear a path for themselves in proving them wrong. This book is a proficient tool for social re-engineering, and morals. It is also a novel for cultural renaissance which seek to state that the unity of the nation is non-negotiable.
This work takes an inward gaze on the landscape. It couldn’t have come at a time when writers toll the line of diasporic tale telling rather than a conscious reflection of the motherland.
The writer addresses certain societal concern such as child labour, single parenthood,renegadism and peer pressure. The book aptly paints imageries that the common man may readily comprehend. In her opening paragraph, she writes : “A good number of people gathered in the cemetery, all in black robes “.This is a similar culture world over, particularly in Africa as the last rite of passage to a deceased. By stating this therefore, she had fired the first shot. The subsequent lines described the travails suffered by Gozie whose mother was being interred. The irrepressible sorrows of his mother’s demise and having to continue with his furtive lifestyle as a vicious thief.
The writer visits Ilorin frequently, she juxtaposes the ancient town with the East. She reflects on admirable village life in the East associated with cool breeze of nature, multitudinous vegetation, communal existence. The village settlers exist in a closely knitted ambience which affords them interference in other people’s affair. This meddling brought Chiekpu to the house.
The writer uses Idioms and wise in English and Igbo languages. She keeps a steady pace of events. Employing also the device of Pidgin English, all in a bid to enhance easier comprehension for all. The story is one filled with sad turns as the title suggests. We see Gozie’s mother weeping at every turn. The first was at her husband’s illness and death. There is the motif of the agony of raising a child alone, fear of losing the child to sinister activities and even in death, her ghost shed tears with roving figures of herself to her only child.
Then fate(Chi) and destiny is set on two dimensional planes when Chiekpu,an adopted Child of Gozie’s grandparents replicated as an Ogbanje with enormous magical powers with special gift. She is a totem for wading off the Unseen. She becomes hapless at the time of the haunting visit of Gozie’s mother. There is a clash of love, bitterness, regret and desire as the poor boy is caught either two divides : Life or Suicide. It is instructive to note that the author omitted to intricate tale–Gozie’s father transition to his son which leaves us all to making certain inferences. Again, the faith of the grandparents is at first registered as Catholism while the practise and doctrine are of Pentecostalism without informing the reader about conversion. Such detours may as well be forgiven as every work of Art in itself is a perfect work.
We may as well ask-Did the hunting tears ever dry? Or better paraphrase, why the Hunting tears? Either of the question remains relevant as the title as a hydra-headed one with several sentiment and answers. The hunting tears in my own view stemmed from the anguish suffered by Gozie’s mother who had sought to save her unborn Child from premature death and lost her husband. She lost almost all, even her life.
The crux is not to point accusing fingers at her for such a desperate move but it tells the daily sacrifice Women and indeed Mothers pay in ensuring that their children excel in their endeavors towards the implementation of every life ambition in articulated mission.
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