Friday, August 24, 2007

"The Hotel Malogo" by Helon Habila and other literary stuff

CW, since it has been two weeks since I have posted on HH.... {-;

Helon Habila has published a rather suspenseful short story set in Lagos "The Hotel Malogo" in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 2007 issue. The end reminds me a bit of the ending of the chapter "Angel" in Waiting for an Angel. I LOVE his use of language.

At the moment, I'm preparing a study guide for Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, for use in the interdisciplinary "Introduction to Africa" course I will be TA-ing for this semester, and I remembered the review I had written of the sequel The Book of Not. Since it is buried in the archives of this blog and I could no longer link to it, I've re-posted it on my "literary blog." It was interesting to re-read Nervous Conditions last night with the developments of The Book of Not in mind.

5 comments:

Christian Writer said...

I am not saying a word.

Jaja said...

Thanks for the link to the story... Its about time I had my first read of Habila

My first time here too... cool blog

Fred said...

I just read the short story.

It underscored what I already know about Habila as a "correct" writer with solid descriptive skills, someone who writes with the sureness of an astute observer, like a camera with its shutter open, silently capturing images for later use.

As seems to be usual with many Nigerian writers, there are some bumps in the narrative road, beginning with the idea of a 16-year-old approaching a Lagos newspaper editor with writing samples. The leaps in logic he seems intent on his readers accepting is a bit on the sly side of things and when one remembers he's writing in this journal for a predominantly western audience, the hackles on my back rear up again: here's another African writer pulling the wool over the all-too-eager, unsuspecting "oyinbo" eyes which will accept whatever vision is painted by Africans however implausible.

Another question I ask when reading anything is 'so what?' Why is this an interesting story? Never mind that it's well-written. What nutritional, filling element should I be satisfied with after reading it? Why this story? Where's the pay off? In the end, after reading Hotel Malogo, I feel very much like after I've finished eating a good cupcake: relishing the sugar, but knowing it's all empty calories which only makes me fatter.

uknaija said...

Thanks for the heads up on HH...

Atutupoyoyo said...

Thanks for the heads up. Will read the short.