Good, solid Nigerian novels are relatively few and far between; but the best of them offer insights into African culture, society, and experience in a way that nonfiction can not, and among that small standout group is Jide Familoni's Losing My Religion, the story of Femi Fatoyinbo, who is born into a polygamous Yoruba family in a small Nigerian village.
Where other African novels would focus on this setting, Familoni chooses to have his protagonist move to Canada and then America. In these countries he discovers the startling, stark contrasts between his upbringing and traditions and those of the Western world.
Facing such an experience, Fatoyinbo's very identity is threatened. What parts of his psyche should be given up, and which should be retained? What approaches lend to integrating with one's new foreign home and its practices, and which constitute jettisoning one's very culture and identity? More than cultural barriers are crossed in the course of his story, a first-person saga of family connections, community, and the voices, songs, and experiences of Nigeria.
There's nothing one-dimensional here: using the novel form to add dramatic embellishments, Familoni incorporates a sense of history, tradition, and place that ultimately captures the underlying currents of African identity, making Losing My Religion a rich presentation and recommended read for those seeking more than a light treatment of Nigerian culture and beliefs....Continua