Read Sylvester Onwordi Desert Island Books

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Although I have never read Buchi Emecheta’s work, I took the opportunity to invite her son – Sylvester Onwordi – to participate in my lonely island book series. Described by Bernadine Everisto as “the ancestor of black British women’s writing. . . powerful fictions written by and about Our Lives’, his 1974 novel Second-class Citizen was recently reissued by Penguin Modern Classics.

Sylvester said about his books about lonely islands: “My selection criterion here are the books that I have read and re-read so many times that they have become an integral part of my personality and still influence the way I see the world. The list is necessarily subjective, and the order is arbitrary. There are several others that I could have cited – Wuthering Heights, 1984, Oliver Twist, Beloved, the Grass is Singing though However, here is a selection of books that have deeply influenced me or haunted my imagination for years.’

Heart of Darkness-Joseph Conrad

This short story was considered a masterpiece for almost a century, but now it is often demonized, especially in academic circles, which makes me wonder if his reviews actually read it. It is not only a remarkable prose text, but probably the most devastating indictment of the colonial project that has ever been written. This book was published when the onslaught on Africa reached its peak, and is not so much about Africans as about nihilism and the greed of Europeans who Violation and plunder him. Conard was a” moral writer ” and in Kurtz describes the darkness that he recognized in himself and in the Western mission of civilization. It’s an hideous, but still important vision. A remarkable book!

The Invisible Cities of Italo Calvino

This book is a secret, but beautifully spun. It is a Borges-style poetic novel in which Calvino reinvents the experience between Marco Polo and Kubilai Khan. The lord of the largest territory in the world learns about his kingdom and peoples from the world’s greatest traveler. In each chapter, Marco Polo talks to the khan about a different city, until at the end we find that he is talking about a certain city, imprinted in his head, by which he judges all other cities and misses them. Venice. It’s a beautiful vanity that keeps bringing me back.

Night Forest by Djuna Barnes

In the introduction of TS Elliot, he described Nightwood as a” poetic novel” in design and style that could explain the problems I had when I first read it. From the second reading, although I was addicted. It is a tragicomic story about love and its vicissitudes, which is played as part of a group of predominantly American bohemians who lived in Paris in the 1930s. It is full of incredibly drawn characters – the enigmatic Robin Vote, his beloved Norah overflow, the transvestite doctor Matthew O’Conner… Every time I come back to this book, I discover something new. Nachtwald is a rich, beautifully written novel – in my opinion, a masterpiece – that really deserves to become more famous.

Works by Jorge Louis Borges

This is not a novel, but a collection of short stories by a master of the form of the 20th Borges’ imagination is magical, erudite and colorful. He was a philosopher-poet at heart and read and described the world in this way. I especially like this volume, which is strewn with spiritual jewels-Funes, the Monument, the Library of Babel, the Circular Ruins His gnomic epigrammatic style is not to everyone’s taste, but I am always impressed by his myth-making abilities and the fact that, despite the brevity of his stories, everyone feels documented and complete in themselves, like one of his circular labyrinths.

2001 the Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke

I was ten years old when I first read in 2001. It is the book that has awakened me intellectually and philosophically. It’s a sc-Fi story about the first contact with an advanced alien species. The story takes place like a concert in three movements and takes us on a journey from our Paleolithic origins to the present to a hypothetical future in the stars. The novel, as well as Kubrick’s film, was based on two of his early short stories: the Star and the Sentry. Arthur C Clarke may not have been the greatest prose writer, but he was a striking storyteller and a remarkable VISIONARY.

In the ditch of Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta’s groundbreaking novel is a semi-autobiographical account of the struggles of a young black single mother raising five children in the slums of 1970s London. Against the backdrop of poverty, racism and a dysfunctional social system, the central character finds a common cause with white working-class mothers in communal estates, who ultimately lead the same struggle. It is an excellent book and an extremely dramatizable work Of black social history. The characters jump off the page-the neighbor, Dot with her faggots and her beehive wig, Mr. Noble, Juju’s owner and his wife I I’m one of the children in the story, which is partly why I’ve read it so many times. My mother was a great storyteller, and with each new reading I am amazed at the humor and generosity of spirit that she brings to her vivid narrative.

Things are Falling by Chinua Achebe + The Big Ponds by Elechi Amadi

Perhaps I am doing injustice to the uniqueness of each of these books by summarizing them, but for me it is the same emotional experience-my sense of an igbo past that existed in pre-colonial Nigeria. These stories are themes around tribal warfare and cultural contact-but in the characters and the semi-mythical dramas they play, I see my great-grandparents and great-grandparents captured in prose by two master storytellers. Achebe’s book is by far the best known, but for me the Great Ponds is more touching than history and in its treatment of traditional themes. For a black man living in the UK, revisiting these works is a return to basics and a grounding

Alice In Wonderland + Alice on the Other Side of Lewis Carol’s Mirror

The first poems that I read and learned by heart came from these awesome children’s books. They were my introduction to English Surrealism and Python/Lennonesque humor, which has remained with me all my life. They describe the adventures of Alice, a serious and logical girl who finds herself in a world where logic has completely gone out of hand. There are scenes that still make me laugh just thinking about it – the tea party, the court scene, the Duchess and her Cheshire cat. And then there are the poems… I can still quote them all verbatim. I really hope that the children will still read these books.

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