Literary Reviews, Page 27

Works on AGNI Online that I have read thus far, presented by international authors, have been extremely well put together and truly serve as cultural snapshots. They should be of great interest to all interested in learning about foreign venues.

It should also be noted that AGNI Online asserts:

“What we print requires concentration and takes some time to digest, but it’s worth that time and effort: Writers and artists hold a mirror up to nature, mankind, the world; they courageously reflect their age, for better or worse; and their best works provoke perceptions and thoughts that help us understand and respond to our age.”

Like most literary journal work, this is true. As I have noted previously, literary journals such as AGNI are not for the average reader. Indeed, if escapism from the cares and woes of the world and one’s personal life is one’s goal in picking up a book or magazine, then genre or mainstream fiction would be more one’s choice. I enjoy most styles of literature, suitable for different moods, occasions and intellectual goals. My beef with today’s self-styled literati is that while I will acknowledge such, my perception is that many of them will not. I sometimes have this suspicion that their worst fear in life is dying in their beds, with a John Grisham novel found draped across their chests.

“A Letter from Home," [AGNI Online; August, 2006] by E. C. Osondu, is fiction framed in the form of a letter by a Nigerian mother remonstrating with her emigrant son in America. It begins, “Why have you not been sending money through Western Union like other good Nigerian children in America do?” This sets the tone for the rambling missive, punctuated periodically (not in so many words) with: “Have I mentioned you really should be sending money back home?”

The intent of the piece, admirably fulfilled by the clever and charming writing style of Mr. Osondu, is to allow the reader a peek into the lives of West African immigrants to the United States or Europe, and the pressures they face from the clashing cultural values of their adopted homelands and their native lands. Having once been associated with many West African immigrants, I can attest that what Mr. Osondu relates to us here is right on the proverbial money! The author also lends to us a fascinating peek into his native land’s cultural ethos.

The unnamed recipient of the letter from his Nigerian mother is subjected to a maternal guilt trip as her “prodigal son,” whom she fears has been corrupted by Western values and its crass, benighted mores; though, admittedly, the dollars and euros that decadent, white Western civilization generates have their advantages and utility. Namely, they should be sent back home and, most importantly, ultimately in person when the son has accumulated sufficient treasure to ease the life of his long suffering mother. Click to continue:

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