DISCLAIMER: I won’t lie; I have a soft spot for the writer Jude Dibia. I have never met him in person, but there is something about his spirit that breaks my rugged face into a wide grin when his emails push through to my consciousness in the writer’s listserv that we both belong to. He and a stealth army of young Nigerian writer-Turks fill me with hope about the future of
In a real sense this is not really about Jude Dibia’s two books, Walking with Shadows and Unbridled. It is really about managing change. Yes, I have read both books. Actually, I did read Walking with Shadows twice. I had gotten to know about the novel on Molara Wood’s blog – an increasingly invaluable and eclectic source of information on the creative arts that is focused on
As literature goes, Walking with Shadows is not great literature. In this book, we follow the adventures of Adrian, a gay Nigerian who struggles mightily to be both gay and married in
If Dibia’s book does not spark debate in
Dibia has youth on his side and reading through Walking with Shadows, I found enough talent and energy that suggested to me that I had not heard the last of Dibia. Well, he is back with another production – Unbridled. In Unbridled we follow the fortunes of Erika King (aka Ngozi) as Dibia explores the subjects of rape, incest and female emancipation. Unbridled in my view, proves that Jude Dibia is capable of improving on his craft. On a certain level, the book is a familiar tale of restlessness in a cesspool of longing – dashed hopes in a mirage of succor and prosperity. The book reads like pulp fiction and hardly ever rises above that level of the ordinary. It doesn’t help that historical inaccuracies in the book threaten its structure and credibility. As far as I can tell, the story starts in 1997 when Erika (or Ngozi) goes to
In his books, Dibia effectively makes the point that the sum total of our sexuality is alive and well in
Jude Dibia gets it. As Man sought to create order out of chaos, to shoo off His fears, anxieties and self loathing, He created laws, taboos and a suffocating culture that outlawed that which He did not understand, that which He feared, and that which He loathed. From the fecundity of His perplexed mind, He built malevolent spirits and hid them behind fearsome masquerades. Dibia pulls hard at the masks and unearths Man’s hypocrisy. Good for Dibia. The Dibias of our world insist on thinking out of the box to break this cycle. That is why I am attracted to Dibia’s ideas. I make the distinction between ideas and the medium. It is my thesis that the constraints of the book as a medium do a disservice to the likes of Dibia. With the Internet and emerging technologies, the world should be able to enjoy the rich product of the sensibilities of discerning thinkers. The traditional medium of book publishing is well suited to the aged and the jaded. We should look for fresh invigorating thinking in blogs and online journals. Ideas rock and the book is dying a long, slow death. In the transition, we must make sure that the dreams of beautiful people like Dibia are not drowned in the undertow.