The writer of the Song of Songs book of the Bible makes a profound statement in the sixth verse of the books eighth chapter. He says, “… love is as strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.” Love, and jealousy, are the two central themes of Othuke Ominiabohs’ book titled Odufa: A Lover’s Tale.
Tony, the protagonist, is a closet romantic who after having plenty plenty flings with girls in school because of a heartbreak, falls head over heels in love with a girl a couple of years older than him. The girl, Odufa, gives his romantic nature such expression that he willingly endures ridicule and disapproval of her by his friends and family. Although she is undoubtedly beautiful, reasons such as the reputation of women from her tribe and her being older and more worldly wise than him, are given for their disapproval of her.
Tony is undeterred by his people’s disapproval and vows to love and protect Odufa forever. He writes her poems and oft reads them aloud to her on the phone and in person, holding her in his arms. I the early days of their romance, Odufa, receives the poems with the requisite oohs and aahs saying how lucky she is to be loved by him.
However, as their relationship gets deeper and more intimate, Tony discovers a dark and violent side of Odufa borne of jealousy which consequently also ignites violence from him that he did not know he was capable of. In fact, Odufa gets so angry at one time that she sets on fire a book of poems Tony had compiled for her. This particular action serves to drive a serious rift between the lovers as Tony believes this means that Odufa does not truly know, understand and love him as she constantly claims.
Like any average girl, every once in a while I like to read a good love story with a happy ending. I was, thus, somewhat disappointed, as far as that is concerned, by Odufa: A Lover’s Tale. Othuke’s writing of this love story is poignant and much too close to the realities of relationships and therefore belies the novel’s title.
Nonetheless, in this his first published novel, Othuke exhibits his applaudable gifts of imagination and expression as he takes the reader on a bumpy journey, quite like one on any of Africa’s numerous untarred roads, through Tony and Odufa’s love life.
In all, then, this novel gets two stars ? ? on the Edward O’Brien scale from me. Bravo Othuke!
Odufa: A Lover’s Tale is a novel, written by Othuke Ominiabohs and published, in 2015, by Nigeria’s TND Press.
This review, of Odufa: A Lover’s Tale, was written by Lynn Turyatemba.
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