Cover Image: Of This Our Country

Of This Our Country

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Member Reviews

To define Nigeria is to tell a half-truth. Many have tried, but most have concluded that it is impossible to capture the true scope and significance of Africa’s most populous nation through words or images.

Nigeria is more than scams and con artists claiming to be Nigerian royalty asking you to help by wiring funds. Nigerians are making their mark in the fields of performing arts, creative arts, fashion, human rights activism, sports, medicine, and media, to name a few. As I’ve noticed in the last two years, many Nigerian writers are being recognised globally in the world of publishing. This is my third book by a Nigerian author and I have a few more lined up on my TBR.

This anthology, bringing together 24 established and emerging writers from Nigeria, explores the country through their pen. The authors reflect on the Nigeria they know and remember. They relive the memories significant to their Nigerian heritage and share the experiences that bind them to their culture and traditions.

The essays tell a powerful story of a country pulled in opposite directions. They weave deeply personal experiences of living in Nigeria, visiting Nigeria, or meeting other Nigerians away from home.

I recommend this beautiful, yet complex portrait of a country relatively unknown to outsiders. Profound, hardhitting, these essays will tear at your heart for the joy and pain behind them.

This ARC courtesy of NetGalley and HarperCollins UK.
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This collection of personal essays from 24 Nigerian authors is a beautiful ode to a country they have varying degrees of relationship with. 

It's impossible to completely capture the essence of a country in one piece of art but as far as personal accounts go, I think this is a mixed enough bag. For non-Nigerians whose first interaction with our beloved country is this book, you're in for an interesting time. 

As a Nigerian, I was able to relate to the majority of these essays on many levels. The writing is honest. While the perspectives vary from author to author, the main sentiments remain their interestingly complex relationships with a country that they have some ties to. 

I enjoyed reading this collection. Some essays were really good, others, not so much. I didn't finish the few I couldn't connect with but overall, it was a good reading experience that reminded of a country I have mixed feelings towards.
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How do you fully capture the essence of a country? Of a culture? Of home?

Well, Of This Our Country is here and has done a beautiful job of just that - bringing 24 acclaimed Nigerian writers together to share their collective memories, thoughts and observations about Nigeria and bringing light to a country not many of us know alot about. 

Through honest, personal accounts, these writers bring us their unique experiences of growing up in or away from Nigeria, and their reflections of the country from the beautiful to the problematic. From learning about childbirth and childhood, to the culture surrounding food, to superstition, to politics - this honest memoir encapsulates the many aspects of a culture and shows us a multi-faceted account of what it is to be Nigerian. 

"It's one thing to know the history of your home country. It's another thing to know your homes history of your home country." - Home History. 

From the poetic and emotional, to the factual and informative - each essay stands out on it's own merit and style. Now of course, with twenty-four writers, you may not enjoy every essay and I definitely favoured certain ones but you will definitely be able to find one that will resonate with you.  

To an extent it's always difficult to review someones own truth, especially one you've not lived yourself, but whether you're a reader who doesn't know much about Nigera or someone who already has love for the country and is looking for something familiar, this is definitely a must-read. 

I have no relationship with Nigera, nor have I ever visited ... but reading this left me homesick for a country I've never seen.
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As an Anglo- Nigerian, I've been desperate to read this book since I first heard of it, and I'm so grateful to have had an advance copy.
It was everything it promised to be - a taste of home, a living portrait of the most wonderful, terrible, beautiful, ugly, promising, disappointing country in the world. I loved it. And have pre-ordered in hardback.
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Of This, Our Country is an anthology of shared and varied experiences of twenty-four Nigerian writers who were given the brief to reflect on the Nigeria they know. The brief further specifies that they share personal significant memories of how and where they have experienced Nigeria, whether that be in the country itself or in aspects of its culture and tradition found elsewhere in the world. The following quote "from the outside looking in it is hard to understand, from the inside looking out it is hard to explain" best describes the challenge put to these writers. Reading this book is akin to being given extracts of the writers' memoirs. What comes across is how their various experiences have contributed to their chosen careers as storytellers either by accident or design. The stories cover different aspects of Nigeria such as culture, politics, education, classism, arts, history, religion and so on. The diverse experiences make this book a compelling read. The editors of the book, Ore Agbaje and Nancy Adimora have produced a work of literary significance that will no doubt produce several hours of discussion in a book club or social setting.
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Date reviewed/posted: July 14, 2021
Publication date: September 30, 2021

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you have personally decided to basically continue on #maskingup and #lockingdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #thirdwave ( #fourthwave #fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. Plus it is hot as all heck and nothing is more appealing than sitting in front of a fan with a kindle!

To define Nigeria is to tell a half-truth. Many have tried, but most have concluded that it is impossible to capture the true scope and significance of Africa’s most populous nation through words or images.

And yet here, through personal essays from 24 of its writers, a more accurate picture comes into view: one that details the realities and contradictions of patriotism examines the role of class and privilege in Nigerian society, juxtaposes inherited tradition with the diasporic experience and explores the power of storytelling and its intrinsic link to Nigeria’s history.

Within these pages, acclaimed and award-winning writers share memories and experiences of Nigeria that can be found nowhere else, bringing to the fore a country whose influence can be found everywhere.

Powerful, lyrical and entirely unforgettable, OF THIS OUR COUNTRY weaves together a living portrait of Nigeria, one that is as beautiful as it is complex.

With essays from: Nels Abbey, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, Yomi Adegoke, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Oyinkan Akande, Ike Anya, Sefi Atta, Bolu Babalola, J K Chukwu, Abi Daré, Inua Ellams
Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ, Caleb Femi, Helon Habila, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Anietie Isong, Okey Ndibe, Chigozie Obioma, Irenosen Okojie, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, Lola Shoneyin, Umar Turaki, Chika Unigwe and Hafsa Zayyan.

When you say Nigerian, one thinks of 419 scams and Nigerian Princes trying to get their billions out of the country and they need your help. This bok goes belong it and I am happy to not see Wendy from Real Housewives of Potomac writing an essay and bragging about her billion degrees. 

Some of the essays were enjoyable, some were not --- it was a mixed bag and I did not finish the ones I did not like. Nonetheless, I will recommend this book to certain friends, family, patrons, book clubs, and people reading books in the park as we do … I have had some of my best conversations about books down by the Thames!
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