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Novels, books, and musicals
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Friday, December 27, 2013
Out of Africa
1:00 pm est
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
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,
volumes of poetry, stories
for children (of all ages) and
a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of
Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World
Rainbow in the Sky
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
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 fifth novel.