Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Night Dancer-Chika Unigwe

Night Dancer- Chika Unigwe

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 262
gender: F
nationality: Nigeria/Belgium
year: 2012

"Mma has just buried her mother, and now she is alone. She has been left everything. But she's also inherited her mother's bad name. A bold, brash woman, the only thing her mother refused to discuss was her past. Why did she flee her family and bring her daughter to a new town when she was a baby? What was she escaping from? Abandoned now, Mma has no knowledge of her father or her family - but she is desperate to find out."

A lovely feminist novel coming out of Nigeria,Night Dancer is a complex novel about the relationships between mother and daughter, tradition and modernity, and conformity and non conformity. The author claims the novel comes from a contrast between tradition and modern day life in present day Nigeria and that shines through every word. Mma is torn-because of her mother, she never had the traditional way of life, the traditional family and community she sees everywhere else. When she is alone, she discovers her mother and learns to respect her mother in ways she would not have imagined. This is where the novel shines-the complex relationship between the bitterness and rebellion of the daughter who learns exactly what she is rebelling against and ends up identifying with it. It's brilliant really even if sometimes I couldn't understand exactly why Mma seemed to hate her mother so much.

I also really liked how throughout the novel you never know what exactly happened to Mma's mother but you end up guessing one thing or the other. It's a kind of thriller like touch that heightens the emotion of the novel.

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