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Rose of Numen…official review

I am continuing today with Rose of Numen but actually want to share the official review of the book as rendered by the chairman Association of Nigerian Authors.

A REVIEW OF BIOLA OLATUNDE’S ROSE OF NUMEN
Rose of Numen is a 188 page fascinating novel published by IFNG Publishing Inc. Melbourne, Australia, 2015 by Biola Olatunde.

Rose of Numen is a sequel to Numen Yeye. It therefore continues Ife’s tale. Ife channels still the spirit of Numen Yeye, a princess from the kingdom of Light. Her mission, her purpose in life is now crystal clear and the extra-ordinary in her is still intact.
Rose of Numen begins in the prologue. The reader is afforded a glimpse into the past and into the metaphysical world of Rose of Numen, Ife herself. Princess Numen is prepared to embark once again on a journey to another world, the earth, which, however, is inextricably linked to hers. Her purpose, her mission is enunciated, and then the reader is jolted into the present.
Ife gets a scholarship from her old principal to study medicine at the University teaching hospital in a Nigerian city, Ibadan, and her life becomes “professionally fulfilling” afterwards, to borrow a phrase from the blurb, but that is not the end point. She must act out her predestined role on the planet earth.
Ife plunges headlong into her purpose, her mission, releasing the extra-ordinary locked up in her and effectively using the knowledge of her extra-terrestrial connection in the process. She begins with a gathering of a mini festival held at certain periods of the year for women of childbearing age by Yeye, the priestess. She focuses her lens on the culture and tradition of her people, wounding and healing at the same time. But she is not the only one in Rose of Numen whose fate has been predetermined. Babatunde her soul mate, has also been saddled with the responsibility of ruling and protecting his people, not as the chief medicine man nor as part of the inner circle of Ifa, but as a king. Not until towards the end, both the reader and Babatunde remain obvious of this truth. Just as Rose of Numen, Ife, immerses herself in her mission to humanity, stripping people of superstitious beliefs, pointing iconoclastic finger at the practice of human sacrifice, reuniting broken homes and restoring to them the cocoon of family love and care, opening the key to the riddle that dribbles many, with regards to whether reincarnation is a myth or fact, exhorting the woman to see themselves as carrying “a secret flame the man needs to grope his way through life, so also does Babatunde, the young lion preoccupies himself with the kinship issue.
Babatunde is a necessary part of the inner circle of Ifa priests. Based on this knowledge, Adewumi, one of the princes, and whose status is in doubt, approaches Babatunde, with the intent of bribing his way onto the throne, but he is disappointed. Following the latest in a spate of prince Adewumi’s futile efforts to bribe his way through; Ifa’s declaration of a missing prince and Babatunde’s firm refusal to be dissuaded, Babatunde is framed, accused of fraud and thereby suspended. A lawyer and close friend of Ife, Yomi, however shows up like a knight in shining armor and consequently, Babatunde is rescued.

Ifa, in the first attempt at selecting a king, declares that a prince is missing. The tale of the missing prince and potential king resounds around the village, even rending its air. Consequent upon this, prince Adejare, on the one hand, who had shown sign of promise decides and backs out of the kinship tussle. Prince Adewumi, on the other hand, seeks redress in a law court. The selection procedure is called to question. Babatunde, the young lion and an upholder of tradition however becomes victorious in the long run, but that is also not the end. The State Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs requests for a fresh nomination and instructs that a representative of the ministry shall be asked to witness the selection process in order to give fairness a chance. At this point, the reader sees tradition and sacred secrecy coming face to face, clashing with civilization and openness. While still puzzled by the mystery of the missing prince, Babatunde dramatically encounters an old man through which he gains a fascinating insight into the tale of the first king and his missing son, and the two women who, before they could do anything were warded off by the roar of a lion. The day comes. The ceremony begins for the selection of the king. The procedure is simple: each prince is to step forward, mention his lineage and the spirit of the king his forbear will be called forth. Adewumi is the first to be called forth. He is asked probing questions. Answers fail him. The mask falls and it becomes patently obvious that his claim is false. He turns out to be a product of his mother’s shameless and senseless escapade with a farmer.
However, to the utter dismay of everyone, Babatunde turns out to be the missing prince during his first earthly journey. He has reincarnated as Babatunde. He has the symbol of kingship, a pointer to the identity of the sought-after prince and king.

While dissociating herself from the crops of feminists, who believe that the woman has been long conditioned in the environment of masculine dominance, hence the need to liberate her from the shackles and pands of male dominance, Olatune in Rose of Numen gives the woman a new focus. The woman carries a secret flame that she must light in man. Among others, she revisits culture contact, bribery and corruption, predestination, the link between the spiritual and the physical world (a theme which the farmland of African writers have ploughed appreciably), and dwell more on incarnation and reincarnation. She presents us in this work of fiction, with two interconnected and interrelated world, and with the characters we go many a time on foray from this earthly plain into the world beyond. 
Numen Yeye is an intriguing and captivating novel that is laced in flowery language, garnished with local idioms. Biola Olatunde indeed rises to the challenges of originality and creativity.
Like a meandering gentle rivulet, the well-etched words flow smoothly as it takes on issues of global concern that borders on emotions: pains, loss, joy and love, with a force. Also, we hear the resonance of love as it permeates through the thickest of hearts to produce a relationship that cannot be forgotten in time.

Book Reviewer:
Sola Owonibi, PhD: Chair, Department of English Studies, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Nigeria. An award-winning poet and play-wright, he is the Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Ondo State Branch.

I am really grateful for that review because for me , writing at the international level has been a learning process and I am sure I have not scratched the surface yet. I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
You can always get a copy of any of my books from ifwgpublishing.com as well as on amazon.com
Chat soon.

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The Trail…..Conversations

There is something I always find a bit exciting. That is peeping into the inner writer through reading his works. It took a while before I got that, but soon enough I noticed that you could sense the nature of the writer from what he puts out for the world to read. No, it does not mean horror writers are horrible or man size horrors. I do know one or two horror fans that are very gentle and sensitive but try to write out the horror of what life has given them. It is a concept of their frustration. I remember reading the novel of some of my favorite authors and learning a bit of their inner thoughts about the society they observe.

I use writing as a healing process, sometimes as a control measure. I asked my youngest daughter going through the agony of broken romance to write it out of her system. It took a while before she agreed I was making sense but when she finally wrote a small piece, she was alarmed at how murderous she felt. I advised that she should accept she was  never going to push such thoughts into the public domain but she could see how badly she had been affected by the wretch.

Pushing such thoughts into the public domain? What do I mean really? It is like this. I think we affect others with what we put out and at a higher level we are bound to the effects of what we write. The human word is a grace from the creator and sets in motion thoughts, words and deeds that we are linked to by the laws of nature. I am not writing a religious piece.

Let me share an experience, I have been writing since the mid 1970s and I remember one piece I wrote for a radio drama series as a radio producer. I had written about vengeance and had some radio actors going through the scripts. It had to do with the anger of a young man whose father was left to die in the rain by a hit and run driver. Fair I felt in the understanding I had that the young man was entitled to exact his own vengeance knowing that justice was a matter of money in my country.

I stopped the production the next day when I actually drove to the next town and came across a hit and run old man who had been left in the rain to die. I was stunned, shocked and miserable for days. Did I sense the story in advance? My skin was goose bumped for days and I shivered remembering I had described in detail how that had happened. I stopped the production because in my writing the grieving son had embarked on a vengeance trip of the drivers at the garage in a desperate search for the hit and run driver who had killed his father.

I didn’t know the son of the real old man I found later, but I did not want to be held for such murderous thoughts I had written. I learned that day, the power of the word, what it creates, hey, we call it creative writing. So I guess I just didn’t want to create such in the minds of people. Later on in life I did write about murders, the pain of the victim’s close ones and the attempt to find closure. I always worried about the job. You could not start saying writing has a job hazard do you?

The point of this conversation is this? Writers do leave a trail of their inner self behind in the stories they write. I know one author who wrote Guardians of the sky realms, Gerry Huntman. He wrote a very sensitive sci-fi fantasy about young adults and the concepts of building the right emotions in these young minds.  Chivalry,  loyalty, courage and dignity. Standing up against evil, I suspected from his writings the type of parent he was likely to be and learnt over time his sense of fierce loyalty to people he calls his friends. It was a peep into the inner man.

There is Merle Burbaugh, very young man in his late sixties or thereabouts and his books tease you to be up and upright, but he writes as if he is self- conscious about being nice.  What am I trying to say today? That consciously or otherwise, writers leave bits of their inner world view in what they write. How they see things, I am not even thinking of psychoanalyzing writers. I am as crazy as the next writer I think and would take umbrage at such a suggestion.

We do have egos you know, some pea sized, while some could be gozzilla sized. I tend to use people I know as characters in my stories. It is easier to build a character when you have a definite picture of the person in your head. Some characters do approach you. Like the old woman who simply popped in my head one afternoon as I was trying to reconstruct a poem. I was too surprised and listened in to what she was telling me.

When you write, do you immediately think you have a best seller? I am kind of curious like I can go into the mind of J.K. Rowling and ask her that. Do writers write because they want to be best sellers? Hey, would you call Shakespeare a best- selling author now? Was that what he was thinking when he wrote or what was the name of that fellow who told the story of that sleepy man? I mean the one who slept and slept and woke up to see the world has changed. Yes Rip Van Winkle.

I am sometimes scared by the rate at which I can’t remember names, for right now some names just teases the edge of my memory and slips away into the edge of the forest. I find it a bit exciting just chatting with you. Not much harm in that is there? The worst that could possibly happen is a yawn and you might flip the page, but you got as far as here waiting for me to make some sense.

I won, for you see, this is my own version of our conversation.

Spatako

He was called “Spatako” by everyone and he was a commercial driver plying the Lagos routes  in her village. Quite popular but given to drinking while not on his route. Ife remembered that Mother always hesitated to take his bus because of the drinking too. However he had been on a motorbike returning from the beer parlour he frequented when he drove under an oncoming truck. He died instantly throwing the whole town into shock and grief. The truck driver was not lynched as would have been the case because everybody knew that Spatako was destined for such an end. What was surprising was the way the fellow went round his brothers and sisters that were not in the village and got them to come to the village to learn of his passing. One dramatic case was when he visited his brother in Lagos days after his passing and asked his brother to help him deliver a message to their aged father. Spatako was reported to have told his brother that he was on a trip to the North and might be away for days. He thus asked the brother to help him deliver a letter as it was urgent the father got the message. He told his brother to assure the father that he was fine but needed to go on that trip as it was urgent. He also added one for his wife that she might put to bed before he arrived in a few days time. (The wife was not even pregnant at that time, at least she was not aware of being pregnant then, it was going to be their first child and she had no concept of morning sickness or pregnancy symptoms)

An annoyed older brother had arrived home , and testily gave the message but was consternated when the mother heard the message and promptly fainted. In the ensuing pandemonium, a bewildered brother was shown the grave of his brother and he sat on that grave for hours uncomprehending.

Ife was home then and witnessed all that had happened. Days later she saw Spatako in his misty form wandering round the home of his wife. She had tried to talk to him but he never heard her and would follow his wife around. Ife was too scared of her mother’s reaction to her own strangeness to offer to ask for help. Naturally when the wife put to bed it had been a girl and Ife wondered if it was Spatako that had come back as a girl.

She remembered asking if that had been Spatako from Mae who had laughed that reincarnations followed certain processes and that the girl had reincarnated on a different thread configuration.

She supposed Kunle would not have been her uncle Agbo returning then and shrugged. Sometimes she felt lonely just learning about some of the questions of life and existence ad feeling lost in a world of superstitions, myths and ignorance.

As a medical doctor, some of the myths and conceptions of her people had become clearer and she could even see the rationale in some of them. She could tell where they had mixed the spiritual half knowledge with sheer ignorance. However it had only served to strengthen her love and show her what she needed to do to help enlighten her people.. For a long time she toyed with the idea of starting an NGO to explore the possibilities of educating them but so far she had not come to a concrete decision.

Ife was so lost in thought that it took a while before she noticed the persistent knocking on the door and looked up startled into the puzzled eyes of Yomi, and she blinked.

Why are you knocking on the table, doing some kind of séance?

Yomi stared and laughed, you look like you are in trance. Can you see me now?

Ife smiled,”clever, but why are you staring at me and oh have you been here long?”

“All of ten minutes Lady” Yomi replied “What held your attention so much so that you only nodded whe I came in and stared unseeing?”

“Hmm bad manners I must say and I am sorry, are you over your bad temper now, you stalked off the other day as I recall” Ife said with a smile to take the sting out of her comments.medical, doctor, educating

 

Romantic novel or not

Sounds funny reading that. The pro blem though,is that I don’t feel funny instead. I tried to write a romantic novel and I am doing my best to convince myself it is a romantic novel,but the book has my family in stitches. They have not read it but the idea has them in giggles. It made me wonder. I asked my youngest why my idea of a romantic novel had such an effect on them.
She smiled and said it would be hard for her to imagine me being mushy or write like a romantic person. I ignored that,finished the novel and sent it off. Couple of weeks later, I got a timid question as my intended publisher asked me if I wanted a romantic my manuscript to be treated as a romantic novel with depth.
I was mystified and begged my youngest daughter to please read. Three days later she handed over the manuscript with a grimace. My heart sank and I asked what was amiss. She took pity on my crestfallen face,and said the romance I wrote about could only be in my time. “you see, mum,nobody conducts love this way anymore? Your characters are too honest. Even the bad ones aren’t coming off as bad.
Now I am expecting the small rejection slip.
I have one question,must a love story be steamy. seamy
and sordid before it can be seen and accepted ad romantic?
I am making no excuses if it is badly written, but the complaint is I am too deep.
My husband thinks I should stick to what I know best. He says being an author does not necessarily qualify me to write romantic novel.
Can you please explain it to me.

PREDETERMINATION AND MAN’S EARTHLY MISSION…Numen Yeye review

BOOK: NUMEN YEYE
AUTHOR: BIOLA OLATUNDE
PUBLISHER: IFWG PUBLISHING, INC
REVIEWER: SUNMOLA OLOWOOKERE

This work of fiction by this seasoned writer, Biola Olatunde is not a novel for the ordinary man, it is for deep thinkers who are striving for higher and ennobling recognitions and the human link with the spiritual world.
The book opens with a scene from a level that is much different from ours, Terra firma, to use Olatunde’s words. Princess Numen in the place of light is getting ready to go on an earthly journey. The author’s display of emotions is explosive as the reader struggles to understand the identity of the narrator in the story.
With infinite care, she established a link between the spiritual world and ours in the characters of Jasmine and Fehintola, Lije and Ayo, Numen and Imole Ife. Hence the first lesson; our journey on earth is predetermined and nothing by chance.
Fehintola was an unlucky woman who was plagued by “Abiku”. In the Yoruba Mythology, Abiku simply means evil child that dies only to be born again by the same mother, and keeping on the evil and vicious cycle until it stops. She was desolate with the turn her marriage took as her husband took another wife.
An end is to come to her troubles as she was visited and favoured by the priestess of Numen. Her life took on a new glow and demeanor of quiet confidence was surprising to her detractors.
Fehintola’s journey in life and understanding of the mystical world around her evolves quietly as she became acquainted with the spiritual beings that were deteremined to help her once she found her own link with the spiritual.
Lesson Two, each human being has a link to a divine connection which once detected helps individuals in tackling life challenges.
Amidst guidance and extraordinary tranquility, Fehintola had her baby and the child grew and began school with her knowledge of her extra-terrestial link still intact.
In the society however, she was seen as “strange” Even her friends could not understand her strange gifts. However, the people around her were glad of the divine intervention they got in the time of distress through her special gifts.
Her father and maternal grand-mother understood her being partially while her mother who ought to understand her more due to the other-worldly experiences she had before giving birth to her was surprisingly uncomprehending.
Due to the divine powers she possessed, she has a running battle with her paternal grandmother who could not subdue her. In several scenes, the reader is shown the woman’s dark powers and how she attacks her victims mercilessly, even those with whom she had familiarities.
The novel “Numen Yeye” portrays two main forces, one of the light and the other of the darkness. The duo are tackling at loggerheads as their missions are as different as day Is from night.
I am mostly intrigues by the regal figure of Numen, the Priestess of the Rose. Her humanness and empathy with people she came into contact with shows when she observes them through her spiritual visor.
She came to the world to help some important figures that she perceived to be in distress. The novel’s setting is based on two plains; one, earthly and the other, esoteric.
On the esoteric, we have Princess Numen, Lije and Jasmine amidst other creatures. And on earth, we have Lije and Jasmine as couple with earthly names Ayo and Fehintola respectively.
Princess Numen came to the planet earth with a mapped out mission of how to help mankind especially those around her to fight forces of darkness that might want to destroy them.
However, once she was born, she had trouble linking to her spiritual world from where she came. She could not understand the sudden insight about happening around her that comes to her inner being at intervals.
She had difficulty in identifying her inner self and this made her uncomfortable as she wondered at the source of her sudden but steady insights. In her household, the family regarded her with a mixture of fear and respect.
However, her grandmother had no liking of her because of her wicked plan which were thwarted by the goddess that she sees as mere slip of a girl. Her several attempts to destroy Numen whose earthly name is “Imole Ife” failed and her hatred for her young granddaughter grew. However, she could not make mincemeat of her as she did with the other family members.
With her witchcraft, she had upended the destinies of her children and those who refused to bow to her whims had been destroyed in her anger. In short, Imole Ife’s grandmother had met her match in the mere slip of a girl who was her granddaughter.
Imole Ife who was known to her mother before birth became estranged from her when she was growing up because the woman could not understand the strange daughter that fate had bestowed on her.
She was called several names “Emere, with witch, Ogbanje” etc and she was disturbed by the beliefs until she found her true self.
On the earth plane, three people had been her mainstay, her maternal grand-mother, Yeye at the shrine and her father. Her rapport with these people had helped her stabilize until she found her true self by discovering her link to ther eternal roots.
It was only then that she found peace and she could easily tap into the power that she could use whenever she needed to help anyone in distress. Her understanding and insight was so awesome that people began to respect her and see her as the high priestess that she was.
She had come to terms with her mission in life; to be of help to humanity. Despite the knowledge of this mission, she studies to be a doctor with her father’s help and support.
The novel was set in an era when females were not encouraged to go to school. However, her father supported her in her desire for western education.
At long last, she discovered herself and accepted to lead the virgin dance that she had dreaded and scoffed at. Ultimately, she found a worthy companion to mate with for life in Babatunde, her friend.
The novel, Numen Yeye, is about intertwining worlds and it teaches about predestination. The novel also her satiric properties as the readers become aware of the ills of polygamy and extended families. It also gently scoffs at Nigerian’s show of religiousity which had not helped in solving our problems. It also encourages female education.
It is a work rich with cultural practices of the Yoruba people. While the author does not bore the reader with traditional numbo-jumbo, it has brought home to us that we cannot forget our roots and our links to what has been before our existence.
The author, in this work, has outdone herself. Her understanding of man’s existence and the importance of understanding his purpose in life is portrayed in Imole Ife and her desire to understand her mission in life.
Really, I want to say the readers who know Biola Olatunde and the richness of her prose could not have expected anything less that the dexterity she exhibited in “Numen Yeye”.

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