Against the Odds
by Ben Igwe
Against the Odds by Dr. Ben Igwe won the 2010 ANA/NDDC/Ken Saro-Wiwa prize for fiction. In the words of the Judges:
"Ben Igwe’s Against the Odds ... is a classic in which Igwe deftly uses irony, suspense, description and diction to underscore the importance of love, peace, discipline and tolerance in interpersonal relationships cutting across race, gender, religion and groups."
Undaunted by hardship, a determined widow, Uridiya, arranges a wife of her choice for her western- educated only son. Little does she know that her son, Jamike, had fallen in love and married a foreigner against her wishes and the expectations of his village. In a show of love, loyalty and commitment he rejects the arranged wife to the disappointment of his mother and the community. Can his defiance succeed against all odds? Set in an Igbo village in Eastern Nigeria from the late 1950's to early 1970's and in the United States in the early 1970's, the author sympathetically handles the powerlessness of the widow in rural African societies and addresses with candor and sensitivity the problems of race, human sexuality, cultural disengagement and the role of love in blurring the "color line".
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"Dr Ben Igwe’s novel, Against the Odds, has joined the growing body of works that one could designate the Afro-diasporic - fiction. In them, characters descended from the old African Diaspora interrelate, and sometimes, interfuse with those of new African immigration to create exciting and challenging possibilities, and, sometimes, ambivalent or problematic situations."Emmanuel Obiechina
"Ben Igwe’s Against the Odds ... is a classic in which Igwe deftly uses irony, suspense, description and diction to underscore the importance of love, peace, discipline and tolerance in interpersonal relationships cutting across race, gender, religion and groups. Marriage functions metonymically to call attention to the new value system informing the operation of the constitutive units of the global village, especially between Nigeria / Africa and the West. Of particular significance is the rhythmic flow of the narrative which initially moves at an even keel and ends at a palpitating pace. The author uses it to stress the gradual but painful process necessitated by the creation of the new social order. The novel strikes a new chord in the development of the motif of alienation characteristic of the Nigerian novel dealing with characters emigrating from Nigeria to Europe / America."2010 ANA/NDDC/Ken Saro-Wiwa prize for fiction
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