Thursday, September 1, 2016

I Guess I Need a Book Club

WIN_20160831_21_46_10_ProIf I am ever going to have any hope of reading another book again, I must write about this one.  The characters have moved into my head.  Brought their knapsacks and their dishes.  Heck, brought their own futons and set up house in that crowded, cobwebed maze that calls itself my brain.  They throw house parties.  Invite their friends, strangers, other characters.  I won’t be surprised to find Lizzie Bennet throwing a glassful of water in Furo Wariboko’s face.  They have infested my being and will not let me be.  So I must write about this book.

Blackass---I can hear my mother’s “ahem,” with its pushed-out air emphasizing the m.  It’s the opposite of what I imagine that African term “sucked his teeth” to be.  I could try to call it Blackvampire, but that hardly works.  It is in fact Furo Wariboko’s bum that is black.  His other ass-ness however, the part that could be described as vapmire-ness, is all white.  Oyibo white.

Furo Wariboko is the main character in this Kafka allusion.  I guess it’s not really an allusion as the author, A. Ignoni Barrett, acknowledges Gregor before we meet Furo, acknowledges his tribute to Metamorphosis.

Like many American high school students, I endured Metamorphosis.  Endured is the right word.  I did not endure Blackass; I devoured it.  And then it devoured me.

Furo Wariboko awakes to find himself transformed---expressed far more eloquently than that---into a white man.  An oyibo man in Lagos, Nigeria, in not-so-well-off, Nigerian’s Lagos, Nigeria.  And his adventures begin.

In an inverting of my Americanah experience, I struggled to picture Furo as a white man.  His physical appearance was described frequently as he discovered and rediscovered and was reminded of himself.  Yet I kept picturing a Nigerian man.  Until Furo’s insides began to match his outside.  As Furo accepted his whiteness, as he adapted to, embraced and abused the privileges suddenly in his possession, the Furo Wariboko in my head more and more matched the description in the book.  As Furo’s soul became oybio, so did the vision of him.

One of the reviews on the back of the book says “it will scorch your fingers and singe your eyelashes.”  The reviewer is not lying.  There is so much more I want to say about this book, but I cannot without leaving hoards of spoilers armed with pitchforks.  I need more people to read this book so I can talk about it!  Be one of those people? Pretty please, with sugar on top, and a black ass?


P.S. The use of Twitter in this book is amazingly delightful.  I tried to follow one of the character’s handles from my phone and was surprised to receive their last tweet, a tweet saying goodbye to the author.

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