Friday, April 17, 2015

REVIEW of TERRA COTTA BEAUTY by JOLA NAIBI

TERRA COTTA BEAUTY
Jola Naibi
CreateSpace
2014

SUMMARY (from Amazon)
My mother died when I was four years old. I remember few things about her, but I do remember that in the mornings when she woke me up and carried me, she often smelled of the earth. It was the same matinal smell that my grandmother had. I found out the secret of that smell just before I turned twelve.
Follow the daily lives, loves, and hopes of an entire community in Jola Naibi’s moving debut, Terra Cotta Beauty.
A carefully crafted selection of short stories, this collection examines life in Lagos, Nigeria, during the era of military rule. It reveals the struggles, loves, and hopes of a disparate group of people whose lives always manage to intersect—sometimes in the most devastating of ways.
With each brief conversation and split-second decision containing consequences that reach further than anyone could ever imagine, each of the book’s seven tales is a delicate thread that helps form the social fabric of a nation divided.
From a woman whose journalist husband is jailed for criticizing the government to a man’s reluctant descent into crime, Terra Cotta Beauty acts as a carefully crafted ode to the essence of Lagos itself: its people.

REVIEW
Terra Cotta Beauty is the name of a salon in Lagos, Nigeria, and this salon becomes the hub for a community dealing with a variety of challenges, joys, and sorrows. The short stories in this book overlap one another; the characters show up in each other's stories. And the web created by this intermingling of stories and lives reflects the way people overlap each other in any community around the globe.

Jola Naibi's writing is fresh and real, and it's obvious that she writes with compassion. Some of these stories are quite serious, and others are simple reflections about life and relationships. Lagos comes alive for people who have never been there, and I imagine that it strikes a nostalgic, familiar chord for those who have. Lagos is different from other places I have lived, but the characters and the characters' concerns are as familiar to me as my own friends and neighbors.

I look forward to reading more by Jola Naibi. She has a natural talent for storytelling and a gift with words. You can learn more about Jola Naibi and her current projects at her website and on Twitter.

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