Title: Dream Chasers (New Nigerian Stories)
Publisher: Nelson Publishers
Year of publication: 2013
Reviewer: Olutayo IRANTIOLA
is an anthology of short stories by different
writers, however, in its diversity; the stories are relatively close to the
Nigerian experience through the names, locale and themes. The seasoned writers
wrote wonderful pieces in few words and each storyline cannot be easily
determined by the reader because of the heavy use of suspense.
Major Nigerian cities mentioned in
the anthology include Ibadan and Port-Harcourt in Camouflage
; Nsukka, Orba, Onitsha in the Magic Ring
; Iseyin, Okeho and Oyo in the Great Discovery
(this story appeals so much to me because these
towns are all connected to my ancestry); Marina, Lagos in Love on the Marina;
Ile-Ife, Onitsha, Surulere, Lagos in Tough Guys write poetry
; Bere, Ibadan in
the House that Hunger Built.
locations mentioned in the book include USA, South Africa, Paris and Zimbabwe.
The Nigerian content of the book
is found in the themes of each story except in How I met Steve Biko
Would Saffron Do?
The themes include: deception, intricacies of
intercultural marriage, armed robbery, single parenthood and depression in Camouflage;
Incest, Western influences
are the evident in The Little Girl with
Bussing Breasts and a Bubble Gum Laugh;
Insecurity, Insurgence, HIV/AIDS,
Death of Neighbour, Information shared via Social Media were mentioned in The Curtain.
Others are Voodooism, Gambling, Apprenticeship, Western
education, Assumption, Religiosity explored in The Magic Ring
; Traditions in The
, Depression, Loss of a grown-child, Foreign education,
dashed hope in Love on The Marina
Intertribal marriage, Affection in Too
Extra-marital affairs, Reminiscence in “Fur Elsie”.
Additional themes in the book
include Fraud, Impersonation, Disgrace, Financial challenge as reflected in Double Wahala;
Joy of reunion,
joblessnesness, desire to travel abroad, daring nature, love in Tough Guys Write Poetry
. The House that
Hunger Built is related to the tall Yoruba narrative similar to the Amos
Tutuola’s style of Africanism.
The other two stories have
African themes such as Xenophobia (which has just reared its ugly head again in
the last few weeks), Supporting acquaintance, bribery, doggedness, professional
knowledge and assault in How I met Steve
while suspicion, unaccomplished mission, despotic leadership in What Would Saffron Do?
The language of the text is lucid
and concise. Interestingly, the text is domesticated because Pidgin is infused
into the book. There is hardly a Nigerian who does not understand Pidgin. It is
the rustic language spoken by the uneducated or the relaxed version of English.
Various dialects of Nigerian languages, proverbs, abuses and slangs also intersperse
the book-in Camouflage the word, Soja
appear on pg. 3; In Stain, words like aru
on pg. 137, ala bekee
on pg. 145, Cheneke, Mba
on pg. 141, osu
on pg. 149; In The Great Discovery agbalumo
(African star apple) tree on pg. 152 fatalisa
(bastardized pronounciation of fertilizer) on pg. 155 amala
(a local delicacy) were mentioned on pg. 157.
Others are in Too Much Pepper
these words appeared: Oyinbos
(whitemen) on pg. 172, Onyara, were, were iranu, olosi to ri re ti daru patapata, won ri
goloto goloto bi adiye Agric, olodo rabata
on pg. 175, Dansiki
177; “Fur Elise” has the word yansh,
on pg. 184, toto
185; Double Wahala has words like Okuko
na-aboputa mma na-egbu ya
(an Igbo proverb), Ebube Chineke
on pg. 195; In
the House That Hunger Built; Yoruba words like ayo
on pg. 237, iwin
pg. 238, Esu
on pg. 240.
What use to occur amongst
musicians in the past where they sing from other languages in other to gain an
audience (fans) among the other tribes was also done in this book as well. The
author of Camouflage, Lola Akande used Igbo characters while the author of
Great Discovery is Kenechukwu Obi who wrote about Oyo, Iseyin and Okeho. There are few errors in the book, however, it
might be limited to the particular copy used, which are negligible.
The book is largely and proudly
Nigerian. It is a way of exporting our literary culture and nuances to other
cultures and countries. The book is another distinct piece from Nigerian