Book Reviews With Oumissa 10: Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon by Nike Campbell-Fatoki

Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon
Autographed copy

Title: Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon

Author: Nike Campbell-Fatoki

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 178

Publisher: Quramo Publishing

Published: 2016

This collection of short stories is as enjoyable as it is powerful. I attended her book reading and signing event at Patabah Books a couple of years ago. Learning about her inspiration, background and the stories behind her stories before reading them brought on a more profound meaning.

The variety centres on the lives of Nigerians home and abroad, the longing for old memories is existing with the pull of the foreign land. The stories are split between the immigrant experience; from the tumultous to the mundane; and the joy and troubles of living in a country like Nigeria. She fluidly paints many ways in which home and abroad are different and yet so similar The book is laced with humour that relieves the reader’s heart of some of its weight.

Moral dilemmas are presented in a way we can associate with, a sort of mirror for our own situations. Thus, we understand the characters’ struggles without judgement.

Familiar everyday scenarios brought to life in this book include rebelling against an overbearingly strict Pentecostal father, the public transport system and underworld in the sprawling, unforgiving city of Lagos, mental illness and a patriarch exacting posthumous revenge on his uncaring family through his will.

But it does make us stop and tell ourselves, the negative things need not be part of life.

Others are green card fraud, learning disability, nosy neighbours, rosy teenage love soured by pregnancy and family disgrace, domestic violence and how women continue to condone it for the sake of the children seeing it a necessary part of life. They make a life facing off blows and yet remain resilient and in some cases, even triumphant.

But it does make us stop and tell ourselves, “The negative things need not be part of life”. We can identify secondary characters who, in their own ways, change the status quo for better.

One of my favourites is A Brewing Storm. Nestled in the middle, narrated with the innocence of a child’s perspective, it explores domestic violence with brave depth , elicits a sense of shame that we as a society have allowed this evil to go on for far too long. The physical and psychological pain, the constant inching to the precipice of death by the hand of a husband, the scars on the children’s psyche all clutch at your heart strings.

Worst of it for the character is the support system of close women (victims themselves) who accommodate her and the kids after each beating. They tell her there is no other way but to endure it. She must maintain the worth accorded to her in the society, the value that comes with being in a man’s house.

There is a remarkable finesse to which Campbell-Fatoki delivers this and the wider societal norms set against women. We see how women (like mother-in-laws) are complicit in this. This chapter is not written as funny. Even as she plays with friends, the fear of her mother’s death is palpable in the child’s consciousness. In a fitting climax, a battered woman and her kids take different desperate stands to protect themselves from an abusive man of the house.

But we also learn that it is and should not be the norm. This was beautifully written about in Searching For Miss Anderson. A woman living with schizophrenia from her teenage years finds unwavering support, the most she’s ever had, in her husband. He stays by her side, actively involved in her long winding recovery process. Happy marriages resplendent with mutual love and respect, providing a safe space for nurturing children are possible and do exist. That balance is necessary, a true depiction of reality

Happy marriages resplendent with mutual love and respect, providing a safe space for nurturing children are possible and do exist.

The Rake and the Wallflower, set in the seventies, details the discrimination people with learning disabilities face in an engaging story about a Nigerian girl who is married off to a man she knows only through a photo in. Abuse and restrictions follow as soon as she lands in America. Doubly due to the norms of the time that said he could treat his wife anyhow but also because he considered her a retard.

People treat those with learning difficulties with condescension often forgetting that they have thought processes and register all of it. It is a brilliant story. It was heartwarming to see this woman escape the horrific domestic situation with the help of her neighbour, a lovely American old lady and her father back at home who never considered his daughter as any less than others.

In all, in presenting what we recognise, in the laughter and tears it evokes, Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon calls us to answer deep moral questions. I appreciate its dedication to family which is present as a common thread throughout. Beneath the hilarity and resonance of the tales is a call to us to keep enjoying what is good about us but commit to rectifying the many faults we have as individuals and a society at large.

Rating 4/5

What are your thoughts about this book?

Book Reviews With Oumissa 3: 1222 by Anne Holt

A train crashes and derails following a storm in the Norwegian mountains.
The passengers find refuge in a hotel close by. As the hours turn into days, a couple of them turn up dead.
A wheelchair-bound former detective has to contribute her skills and intuition to get to the root of the matter.
********

First Scandinavian read. Brought back memories of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

The translation was obvious from the first few pages. The sentences were strung together differently. It still retained enough dark humour , sarcasm and emotion to make the mystery and suspense easier to bear.

In small sections, the author veers off for fleeting insights about family, politics, disability, religion and sexuality.

Like the storm , the book seemed to be going on forever but eventually picks up pace and culminates in a haha! moment.

However, the ending after the ending left no clues, no answer , no closure! So confusing.

Fun fact- the author is a former Minister of Norway.

Kindly share your experiences with this book.

TheRamadhanBaby #9 -Recite! Reflect! Share!

Every corner you turn, you would find people peering closely and reciting from a book in their hands or on their devices. The love of the Qur’an is heightened during this period.
It is after all the month in which it was revealed (Q2:185).

It is a means of drawing closer to Allah. Studying its meaning with authentic tafsirs increases your understanding of the religion.
Whether you plan to finish it once or ten times, let your recitation, memorization and studying be consistent. It may be a Juz (one thirtieth) a day or more or less, put in some work everyday. No matter what you achieve , strive to make it a part of your everyday life.

It is a miracle, a guidance and mercy (Q7:203,16:64,31:3)an absolute truth with certainty (Q69:51,32:3,35:31) a clear book which has been preserved for centuries by Allah who sent it down (Q56:77,78) . It is an holy book, which has been kept in honour and purity(Q80:13-16). It is a warning(Q50:45), it is to be reflected upon (47:24), it is mentioned in itself over 300 times.

Huge resources are currently dedicated to its printing and distribution globally in the same unique form with no changes or different editions. A scripture which millions have memorized such that if all the printed copies on the planet were to be lost, it would be reproduced from the hearts in which it has been engraved without a single letter out of place.

Pick up your copy today. Donate it to mosques, hospitals,prisons, schools and various other institutions. Design apps based on it, help more people gain access to it.

Recite it even if you are not perfect yet. You still get a reward for trying. If you can’t read Arabic yet, register for a class now. Ma sha Allah the means to this have become easy with technology. Read the transliteration in the mean time with the aim of gaining proficiency soon.

You know how you are not satisfied with reading and arithmetic but want to get that secondary school certificate, and even a university degree or even postgraduate? Show the same yearning for studying the Quran and other aspects of your Deen and see your life become richer and make your Akhirah a better investment.