As I said in my previous post, I have a new found respect for anyone who has and continues to author novels. It takes time, discipline and lot of internal wrestling to get the job done. I know it is only fair to review at least one book from the Authors of the festival. I will try my best.
Let’s be honest here, as long as you can read, you can have your opinion about a book. Case in point, a friend of mine defined Ben Okri’s novels as overzealously full of agonizing spirits. And another friend was in love with the depth of African spirituality he exudes, taking us back to our roots. Have I read Ben Okri? Crucify me if you want. No, I haven’t. I won’t pretend to be deep and profound about it either.
Since I read slower than ‘Turbo’, I am wrapping up, yes after a month, less than 150 pages of Tony Mochama’s Nairobi: A Night Guide Through The City-In-The- Sun. The name says it all, it is Tony Mochama alias Smitta Smitten the pseudonym he uses in his column in Kenya’s Standard Newspaper’s Pulse; Entertainment pullout.
It is a night guide, self explanatory; the end – enough said. I should have figured that one out when I picked it up.
I just honestly thought that I would get a different flare of Tony’s writing. I felt that it was an anthology of diary entries over a few years of nocturnal escapades. It is interesting nights out in a city he loves; Nairobi, as the Night Runner, laced with escapades in his Russian, wider European and American trips.
I just genuinely didn’t like the texture of his writing; it threw me off more than it kept me engaged. Not just the shift from first to third person, the story felt like it was jerking. From Good times, Sanford and Sons to Russian escapades, then prostitutes in a bar, to European Premier League football matches, expat parties, the World Cup. Each chapter revealed something new, but like I said earlier it was more like each chapter was a standalone scenario and not necessarily connected to a fluid story.
You know what? Maybe I don’t get it, but to each his own, I guess.
There are few moments that will make you smile and reminisce what Nairobi nights and streets and joints were like in the early nineties, but that’s it. The Sundowner Show on VOK then KBC to the Sunday’s watching “KTN Classics” took me down memory lane, taking you to a world of innocence away from the drunken dens of these cities, he spoke a lot about. Well duh! It is a night guide right? But there really wasn’t any oomph that made me want to keep turning the pages.
First published on http://blog.storymojafestival.com