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Friday, December 27, 2013

Out of Africa
A novel that crosses genre lines is particularly tricky to read, let alone edit. But during this past year, I had the honor to do both.

The Seventh Messenger by the new, emerging Nigerian author Despan Kwardem, is a hybrid cross between adventure and what the author terms Christian literature. Its moralistic message is neatly couched in broad overlays of historical fantasy and contemporary women's literature, although written by a man and set in a timeframe vaguely defined. This first novel, which appeals to both male and female readers alike, follows the trials and tribulations of Nankyer, a young female caught in the archaic tribal customs of Jigoland, who, as the front jacket blurb entices, "...once died once to save a custom, now she must die again to destroy it."

Editing Despan's book was, I admit, a bit of a challenge. Yet, the more I worked on it with him, I became totally engrossed in its gripping story. For a first-timer in the world of literature, this author has already learned and employed the subtle tricks of hooking his readers and reeling them in. There were times when, while editing, I forgot to redact and simply read just to see how the story would end. What I particularly liked was how this author ensconced Biblical stories into Jigo beliefs without being preachy and used the native village as a metaphor for the world. The analogy of human sacrifice to appease the gods quite cleverly represents misguided, evil intentions; and the heroine, the naivety of mankind. The characters and their daily routines are richly defined, although it did take me a while to get used to some of the Nigerian names and phrases, which are, thankfully, translated.

The bottom line is that if you, like me, find the week between the first day of Christmas and New Year's Eve a bit of a quiet dull lull, then I hardily recommend reading The Seventh Messenger. It will, as it did me, certainly lift you out of your comfort zone and is sure to put a edge of excitement back into your life.
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June J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is an author, poet, and librettist. Her currenty published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations, two volumes of poetry, stories for children (of all ages) and a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:

the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World War II
Forty-Thirty 
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members

Adventures of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Spinach Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A Collection of More Spiritual Poems

We Three Kings

Beauty and the Beast

Bethlehem

Noah's Rainbow

Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding Hood

 

 

Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She is currently working on her fourth novel.

June's novels can be purchased at amazon.com, through Barnes and Noble,
at the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area,
and 
the Gateway Pharmacy in Phoenixvile, PA
.

For more information about her musicals, which are also available on amazon.com,