Wednesday, January 6, 2016

the last book I ever read (The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma, excerpt one)

from The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma:

Mother ended the night with this passage from Proverbs—the most frightening I knew of in the entire Bible. Looking back, I realize it must have been the way she quoted it, in Igbo—imbuing the words with venoms—that made it so damning. Aside from this, Mother said all else in English instead of Igbo, the language with which our parents communicated with us; while between us, we spoke Yoruba, the language in Akure. English, although the official language of Nigeria, was a formal language with which strangers and non-relatives addressed you. It had the potency of digging craters between you and your friends or relatives if one of you switched to using it. So, our parents hardly spoke English, except in moments like this, when the words were intended to pull the ground from beneath our feet. Our parents were adept at this, and so Mother succeeded. For, the words “drowned,” “everything,” “exist,” “dangerous” came out heavy, measured, charged and indicting, and lingered and tormented us long into the night.

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