n English in Africa - Coming of age : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and the voice of the third generation

Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-8902


Habila's story about a young writer's coming of age captures the plight facing an entire generation : just as they came of age, their country disintegrated around them. During the 1980s and 90s, an oil bust, economic collapse, devaluation of the currency, the closing of Nigerian publishing houses and the evaporation of book markets exacerbated the country's political troubles and heightened the sense of isolation felt by many Nigerians (Griswold 69). Pius Adesanmi limns an all-too-familiar portrait of murderous dictators and corrupt politicians whose misrule, intimidation, and violence served to waste "a span of sixteen years in the lives of these young intellectuals" ("Re-Membering" 14). Some writers (such as Ogaga Ifowodo, Akin Adesokan, Kunle Ajibade, and Ken Saro Wiwa) were imprisoned and tortured, and their incarceration deeply affected writers throughout the country. The sum total of all these events - the political imbroglios, the collapse of the nation's infrastructure, and the attendant decline of opportunity - has led Adesanmi to coin the term "dismembered present" to describe postcolonial Nigeria (15).

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