Please consider joining us for Irish Short Story Week Year Two, March 12 to March 22. All you need do is post on one short story by an Irish author and send me a comment or and e mail and I will include it in the master post at the end of the challenge
Amy of Amy Reads was hosting a reading event on October 1 in honor of Nigerian Independence Day I wanted to participate. I have posted on a number of short stories by Nigerian writers in conjunction with reviews I have done on stories short listed for the Caine Prize.
Chinua Achebe is the "dean" of contemporary African literature. Born in Nigeria into a Christian Ibo family in 1930, his book Things Fall Apart (1958) is the most read ever book by an author born in Africa and is a classic of post colonial literature. I have posted on him before when I did a second post on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness in which I compared his and Edward Said's attitude toward whether or not Heart of Darkness was, as Achebe claimed and Said denies, a deeply racist work.
"Marriage is a Private Affair" opens when a woman living in Lagos asks her fiance if he has written his father to tell him of their impending marriage. The woman thinks his father will be very happy over the news. The man knows his father will not want him to marry a woman who is not an Ibo and it is also the custom for the parents to arrange marriages for their children. He has not told his wife yet but he has gotten a letter from his father saying he has found a perfect wife for him.
The woman feels that surely the father will not be so prejudiced as to reject her just because she is not from his tribe. The man goes to visit his father to ask him for forgiveness for marrying the woman he loves. The father repudiates the son and the marriage saying he is making a horrible mistake. The man marries anyway and the woman is a wonderful wife. The son asks the father to accept her over and over and the father totally rebukes him and at one point tells the son he is dead as far as he is concerned. Eight years go by. Everyone sees the woman is a great wife. She keeps a perfect house and is the wonderful mother to two sons.
One day the father receives a letter from his daughter in law. At first he wants to tear it up but something compels him to read it. In it the daughter in law pleads with him to allow his grandsons to meet him and asks him to play a part in their lives. The old man fights with all his will to reject this idea. Then the man's heart is filled with shame and remorse for what he has done. He goes to sleep that night dreaming of the soon to come day when he will regain not just his son but a wonderful daughter and two grandsons who will idolize him.