Shucks Mahoney’s #CBRV Review #13: Home and Exile by Chinua Achebe

haeFully inspired after reading Looking for Transwonderland, I picked this short book up from the library. It’s based on a series of lectures that Achebe delivered on storytelling, dislocation, and his experience as a Nigerian writer. With a delicate touch, he dissects the process of othering and myth-production that Western writing about Africa and Africans sustains, including (in a personal favourite passage, as I had to read it in Uni and hated it) Joyce Cary’s novel Mister Johnson. Is there anything not fun about seeing a racist get the symbolic shovel to the back of the head? There’s so much to appreciate here, as Achebe has that rare gift of delivering very complex ideas with such elegance I kept stopping reading to roll them around in my mind.

Highly recommended even if the subject matter doesn’t immediately sound like your cuppa tea. It’s about the power of stories, and the telling of them, as understood by one of the greatest living writers.