Reviews are in…
Rain, the book’s most prominent symbol, is life and death, is past, present, and future. It is a “living being” both distinct and indistinct from all others. Maya struggles to control and make sense of her gift, to find her footing in the world of Time, because she is still coming to understand the paradoxes here embodied.
Quoting China Achebe in her epigraph —“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter,” — Adoyo makes clear that she sees her work in the tradition of writers like Achebe and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o who have sought through their fiction to counter and reverse the hegemonic European perspective on African history.
In the midst of themes both historical and spiritual, what I admired most in Rain was the imagery and musicality of its prose. Adoyo is attentive to sound in language.
Not only the sound, but the imagery is poetic; she combines the senses, whether creating a sense of hope and calm in describing “hearing the light dance on the water” or a sense of horror and chaos in describing the smells of blood and smoke in other passages. Her language is occasionally even playfully self-aware, as when she describes one character’s name as forming “dactylic tetrameter.”
“Rain” asks its reader to expand her definition of narrative, but it also rewards her for doing so… let go of your expectations. Stop trying to fit this book into a box, and just sit back and enjoy the ride.
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