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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”.

Numen Yeye……Conversations

I don’t know how I feel really. My new book is finally out in print and suddenly I have problem sleeping. I am so knotted up that I am beginning to have sensations I can’t really identify. I think about it and suddenly I am nervous, my hands go clammy and my heart races. I am presenting at a writers conference in a matter of days too.

You know that feeling when you look at the new baby and you dream. You hold the book in your hand and you are hard put to put a name to the emotion that assails you. You mention casually to your friends that the book is finally out in print and you hold your breath waiting for the reaction.

I had one yesterday. He is the editor of the local newspaper. A respected editor because unlike the usual pack of  journalists who will want to find out what is it personally in a story, you can be very sure he is on the level. Very disciplined, untainted by the endemic corruption.

I wanted to hear his own opinion and it was important for me. If he thinks your book is rubbish, he would courteously simply refuse to review it and would say very little. I waited and watched. He took the book, read the blurb at the back, as well as the first few pages while standing and suddenly gave a wide smile. He looked up and asked if he could read it first as he would like to own a personal copy of the book. I blinked. “What do you mean”? I asked him.

“I think it is going to be a very interesting read” he answers and asked me what was the cover prize. I tentatively mentioned it and he nodded in agreement as he added, “only the very deep can understand what is in inside the book. I think it is going to be very interesting book indeed”.

Now I have a sleepless night as I ask myself a thousand nervous questions. I have gone over the book again.. Lord I.. I caught myself suddenly praying. It is like waiting for your boyfriend to pop the question or something else, having a baby and suddenly being anxious that it was very important that this particular baby do well.

You sense the significance of this particular baby and deep in your bones, you realize it is vitally important that this baby is acceptable. To serious readers. It is an indication of where you want to be now. What you want to say to the rest of the world I am a Yoruba woman who is learning to see my tribe as the rationale for this present incarnation. I have asked questions, like every growing young girl I have had dreams. My traditional religion had posed questions for me and I have searched for faith for years, tried to understand the risk of living without a faith and understood the fears of those who embraced other religions.

I am not into the practice of traditional religion, but I had learnt gradually from my grandmother, my husband the value of having a root, a base to search for the meaning of my tradition and what it offers me. I have always wanted to know what it is and as I learned more, I understood and gradually a love, and understanding of the rationale for the basic faith has dawned.

I may not necessarily engage in it but I can understand it and I can relate with the rationale behind it. It has made me want to portray myself “as is” I mean, what you see is what you get. It removes the strain of longing to be American, I never wished to be, but I love them and do not mind visiting them, learning about their cultures, but I could never be part of that culture. I would wish they have the charity to accept mine too.

I feel the same way about all other cultures and accept the togetherness on our diversity. My book Numen Yeye has been a voyage of a sort for me personally. It has been a learning period too as I groped and searched for the meaning of my present incarnation and the rationale of my being.

I first came across Numen Yeye on a warm night when my grandma started the story as the usual tales by moonlight ended and I still had urgent questions. I have listened to my grandmother since then as she continued with the story even after she got a seat with the ancestors.

I hope you will like to read it, I would not mind to share it with you. I am proud of the depth we can reach if we only stretch forth our hand to each other in love.

Talk soon again.

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