Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review: Tales From Different Tails By Nana Awere Damoah

Today is AU Day and perhaps, the only good thing about this day is that, it’s a holiday and it has afforded me the opportunity to read an African novel. And this one was certainly a fun read.

Tales From Different Tails is Nana Awere Damoah’s third book and is a collection of 8 short stories whose central theme could be said to be relationships. These stories hovered around motifs as bitter betrayals, cunning maneuvers, tenacious trust and loyalty among other such traits that are common to most relationships, all told in the quaint by-the-fire-side style of storytelling which always carries a moral lesson.

Any Ghanaian, especially those who have had the privilege of attending any of our ‘traditional’ universities and other tertiary institutions, will readily identify with the characters in these stories as a lot of the events Nana describe are still recurrent today. At least that was the case during my time at school. Brother Bazook (a character in October Rush) particularly touched a raw nerve as his depiction hit a little too close to home.
Nana employs a lot of local jargons like ogyacious, aponkye brake, tweah (which term has now attained international renown thanks to the infamous Gabriel Barima), toke, inte, among others. The one transliteration I found particularly humorous was attributed to Sulley Maame, the waakye seller, who sometimes sold her waakye on credit to loyal customers only to be “paid back at moon die,” to wit the end of the month. It is such jargons that gives Tales From Different Tails its quintessential Ghanaian feel.

There were points in the novel where I felt that the stories were “so real yet so fictitious” like Adadewa’s concocted lies against Kojo Nkrabeah. For instance, Akosua (a main character in Guardian Of The Rented Well) shared such striking similarities with the author that I couldn’t help but wonder if she was a replica of the author and that this tale was a recounting of a real past incident in the author’s life…I guess I may never know!

The telltale title of this book coupled with its spellbinding stories offered me just the humor break I needed today and I betcha gonna enjoy it too…go grab your copy!

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