by Brent M. Jones
With the new year facing us, a question is what to read next? "Fiction is the gateway drug to reading” according to Neil Gaiman, a successful fiction and fantasy writer. He added that fiction drives us to want to know what happens next. It becomes exciting, and it satisfies the excitement, as we turn the pages.
When we read fiction, it increases our imagination and results in our finding something new of interest. The new things we find may lead us in a direction such as science, history or art? Maybe we look for a biography of a person with an area of similar interest to our own.
Often the path to the next book, or even choosing one to re read, is built on past choices. Years ago I watched the movie “Apocalypse Now”. That lead me to reread Joseph Conrad’s book, “Heart of Darkness” set in Africa with very much the same basic plot. The book was considered one of Conrad’s best.
Conrad's book was critised by some for have a white mans perspective of life in Africa. I wanted to find another perspective. I wondered if there were good African writers that I could read? At that point in my life I had never looked for African writers. I looked and found many good ones who were respected for their work. I found several authors of interest. Chinua Achebe, was at the time emerging as a well known African author for his book, “Things Fall Apart”.
It seemed to be the perfect “other point of view” I was looking for. This book is indeed something that should be read by anyone who reads “Heart of Darkness”, and wonder if they have seen Africa correctly.