Helon Habila and oscillatory in-between-ness


Twins, quadratures and syzygies have long been part of Nigerian literature and myth, usually as a challenge to views of society based on the primacy of the individual. Given the way the country has gone, Nigeria now being a byword for scheming selfishness and corruption, it seems no accident that twins should play such a big role in the late renaissance of the Nigerian novel, as illuminated by Helon Habila, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Helen Oyeyemi.

That renaissance is a phenomenon for which any lover of African literature must be grateful, for not since the early 1970s has much emerged from the continent that has been able to make a global impact. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is the paralysing connection between a breakdown of societal mechanisms (including publishing) and the wider degradation of what might be described as “citizenship memory” – something by no means limited to Africa.

more from The Guardian here.