A new and powerfully intriguing novel has just hit the literary market in the publication of the Nigerian novel, Taduno’s Song. “A novel about love,” it says on the back cover, “about sacrifice, about courage.” I was lucky to get a hold of it before its publication date and it certainly does have quite a lot to say about these themes. There is something more to it, though, something enchanting that captures the reader outside the shell of those three universals – it is a novel that springs from a foreign fountain, based on unfamiliar identities and ethos.
The story revolves around Taduno, once a great and influential guitarist who used his music to undermine the government’s authority, but who was forced to find refuge abroad. After receiving a ‘farewell’ letter from his girlfriend (Lela), telling him about the desperate state of affairs in Lagos, he decides to return from exile. On his arrival, however, the plot takes an unexpected turn – no one remembers him. On top of that, he finds out that his dear Lela has been kidnapped by the government and held hostage because of her connection with Taduno. As the protagonist’s quest becomes clearer to him and his new companion (Aroli, the neighbour), the reader is gradually diving not only into the deeper strata of this fiction and its ideology, but is also simultaneously introduced to the history of the dictatorial Nigerian ... Read Full Review