This was a brilliant read and the kind of cross cultural, reading journey I love.
Imbolo Mbue takes you back to the fictional African village, Kosawa in the 1980’s. It could be in any number of countries, a fact acknowledged by naming her characters after real towns and cities.
She tells what should be a simple story, about how the village has been affected by the interventions of outsiders and those placed in power within their own country and the people’s attempt to seek and find justice.
Mostly the story is narrated through the multi-generational members of one family, of Thula and her brother Juba, their mother Saleh, grandmother Yaya, uncle Bongo and then the third person plural (we) of The Children, Thula’s age mates. It reaches back to the 1970’s and travels through to the current day.
Seeking Justice, Inviting Retribution
The issue the village initially attempts to address is the polluting of the river and air, resulting in the poisoning of the land, the destruction of their farming way of life and the deaths of too many of their children, since this latest American corporation Pexton, arrived and began drilling for oil.
Though the villages allowed the corporation to drill for oil, based on assurances that all would be more than well for them, they suspect their problems are due to contamination created by the activities of Pexton. The corporation deny all and their paid village representative tries to downplay the gravity of their losses. Continue reading