Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Manna of a Life and Other Stories by Eunice Ngongkum

Eunice Ngongkum. Manna of a Life and Other Short Stories. Yaounde: Éditions CLÉ, 2007, 116 pages.

And very much like Chaucer who uses the strategy of the coincidental convention of diverse pilgrims at an inn to recreate late medieval life in all its colour, Ngongkum in Manna of a Life and Other Short Stories effects a sweep of the Cameroonian society at the twilight of the third millennium, the years of the ebbs of post-independence dystopia, crystallised in the much tambourined Renouveau.

Thus the thematic motif that ties together her compacted narratives is misery for a populace, pauperised by the unbridled obscenities of a vision-voided leadership.

Manna of a Life and Other Short Stories then are ten verbal frescoes that capture the breadth and pulse of the life of the average Cameroonian in the New Deal era, from the rustic folk eking out their existence in this hope-voided clime, to the melting pot that is the capital, Yaounde, that paradigm of the morally bankrupt country, where saints, conmen and the kleptomanic Mammonites of the Renouveau coalesce to produce a sordid world where spirited juvenile dreams end in calamity; where post-independence dystopia is engraved in the social topography of the city, where glorified Renouveau robbers of state money:

Walked the streets in broad daylight and nothing was done to them. In some instances they were hailed as best managers and given juicier positions where they could demonstrate recognised heroism … (75 - 76).

Eunice Ngongkum teaches at the Department of African Literature, University of Yaounde I.

Click here for the complete review

No comments: