Liberia: Book review for Dance of My Father-A new Collection of Short stories
.... Nemen writes about the pains of Miatay and the disappointment of Veronica in a poignant way that readers can identify with. In this book stories like “It all ends Good, “And will he come back to me?” plus more will make your day.
The master storyteller comes alight again. Nemen M. Kpahn takes us down memory lane. In this newest work, we find ourselves in the heyday of the Liberian civil war; where prominence, education, and dignity were trashed down and replaced with arrogance, illiteracy, bravery, and revenge.
We see in his eclectic mix of characters Woto who refused to go to school but was given an opportunity for social advancement and power by the AK-47 Rifle to experience pseudo-dignity for the first time in his life.
With the cheering of his boys and the influence of the newly found power he now possesses, he decided to humiliate his childhood friend, Dahn, by mercilessly flogging him almost to death. Dahn chose the path of education early in their childhood and even got a University Degree.
This paved his way into becoming a principal of the prestigious mother high school in the Tappita district. This is an enviable position in life that the likes of Woto would never taste. Thus barbarity, defiance, and arrogance are his only way out. Nevertheless, Nemen is not only interested in writing about the injustice he also deftly handles the complexity of human relations during difficult times in West Africa.
Even though in the time of war we mostly cry, there is so much to make us laugh our traumas away. So, Ma Wready in Vahn Town spiced our spirits up with her chicken drama.
She was ready to pounce on a local boy for grabbing her chicken only to find out that the boy was acting on the orders of an Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) soldier who came to loot Vahn Town. What transpired between Ma Wready, the sassy grandmother, the young man chasing her chicken, and the soldier, keep holding your sides from laughter.
Away from the cruelty and hilarity of wartime Liberia behind rebel lines, the great storyteller then takes us away to a faraway land. Flying from Conakry through Paris and Hong Kong, Kpahn takes us to Australia.
Australia, a strange country that is a country and continent at the same time is a unique land of its own. Going to Brisbane to be reunited with his long-lost love, Miatay finds a shocking revelation that will keep you on your toes, The thing that hurt us most are the things and people closest to us.
Nemen writes about the pains of Miatay and the disappointment of Veronica in a poignant way that readers can identify with. In this book stories like “It all ends Good, “And will he come back to me?” plus more will make your day.
Thank you again my best friend for serving us a wonderful meal in a great read. I find the characters in the book believable and real, almost jumping off the page. Nemen could do more by increasing the number of stories in the book. If you have read Nemen’s previous collection of stories called A Naked Lie & other stories which chronicle life in postwar Liberia, you will not be disappointed in the writings of one of Liberia’s emerging writers of his generation.
Grab a copy of this great anthology today by Nemen M. Kpahn available on Amazon or Village Tales Publishing website.
Editor’s note: The views expressed in this commentary are solely of the author and do not necessarily represent that of the Daily Observer newspaper.