DOCTOR Ali: ‘I am not reporting this to the police. God has provided us a house help which you have been clamouring for. I don’t have any money to pay for a house help…’ (P.110)
The above excerpt from an important dialogue from the book in review is one of the many parts that stand true to Israel Oyeyemi’s tactfulness in employing the tripartite traits of betrayal, perseverance and determination to mirror the society. Truth, the book serves a great deal in providing a window through which the society could be clinically viewed.
Beautifully crafted to reflect the every day relations, ‘Amidst Thorns’ is built around four major characters: Doctor Ali, Mr Bankole, Mr Obinna and the determined Eniade whose thorny path to greatness from the nucleus of the play. Everything revolves around the quest to attain success which the author details in the characterisation of major characters. It is through this plot that Israel Oyeyemi forms a clinical exploration of key societal dynamics.
The play opens with Mr Bankole, a poor fish farmer, lamenting the scourge of poverty and the severity of its grips on pitiful souls.
Mr Bankole: ‘What a life? Why does this life decide to turn negative on us?’ Notwithstanding, the author presents Mr Bankole’s doggedness in soft diction to drive home the book’s theme. He goes on with the twined clause of perseverance and determination. With it, characters in the play slough off the dimness of their past life.
Although Mr Obinna is minimally well-off, the quest to succeed makes him a sheer victim of deceit and betrayal. Mr Obinna, an insignificant young graduate who wants to flee a life of penury is let down by his friend – Mr Achike – who has earlier assured him a job, only to offer the job to someone else at the eleventh hour.
In another part, Mr Obinna falls victim to Doctor Ali’s deceit due in part to his determination to learning farming. Doctor Ali also takes advantage of a gullible Eniade to escape the adamant request of his wife to get a house help. In all these, the author succinctly presents his gradual sublime to precipice when he presents a fake certificate of occupancy to the court in a bid to acquire a land illegally.
Oyeyemi weaves an energetic tale of excruciating significance in the life of Eniade whose gradual growth to the peak is consequent of determination. Sacrifices: sleepless nights, hard work to navigate his path through thick times. He is also bolstered by the promise he makes to Jomi, another determined young man whose roles further reveal the author’s shrewd grasp of societal karma.
On a succinct note, ‘Amidst Thorns’ chronicles a unique account of determination, perseverance and reward. The author paints a picture of deception, righteousness and the search for knowledge as the surviving tonic of the play to arrest the reader rapt attention.Read Full Story