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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”.

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WAITING FOR REVIEWS……CONVERSATIONS

I have been having a nervous discussion with myself. You know, like I told you, I have just had a second book out this side of the pond and suddenly I have been nervous. The reason if I care to face it is an acute case of self doubt. I feel somewhat exposed too. My easy acceptance is being threatened by the modicum of recognition I had garnered over time through my writing.

I sent my book off to a reviewer blithely as I know him as one of the best arts journalist and review in the market. He didn’t know me so I had felt comfortable sending the book, Numen Yeye to him. He had in his email clearly stated that he would not bother writing a review if the book was not to his liking and I had shrugged not giving him much thought. Read the book I had said to myself.

The book got to him and his reply has made me nervous. Two things happened, one I did not know he was one of the best reviewers around until a mutual friend told me, and I also did not anticipate that he will read the blurb and become really excited about reading it. Why? Years ago, in another life I had done a series which seemed to have taken over from me and anything I had written since then.

It was a series meant for teenagers on sexual reproduction and like now I had just had a conversation with teenagers. I met a very young girl then who was able to act almost to detail a picture of the lead teenage character. She became quite popular as an actress after that but my series had been her launch pad. It is not the lady that has become my rival, but the series itself. Most people do a double take and ask me wonderingly if I am actually the person who wrote I NEED TO KNOW. I answer at first with amusement that I did and then they give me a second look.

My would- be reviewer has just done the same thing. I wonder if I should feel worried or relieved about that. I read somewhere that you can only be as good as your last and that your subsequent series, novel should always be better than the last. Quite a lot of people are convinced that the series was the best ever and I try to tap them to say, hey I am still alive and there is more where that came from.

I am bemused when people keep talking about that, because I think writers just want to share a part of their world, their take on issues around them, or even warn about an impending danger. Writers receive from a world that senses no boundaries and has a plethora of emotions, characters to choose from. Writers weave, weld, and re-create known norms in ways that excite and challenges the reader.

My argument has always been that we are all writers in some way or the other. We recount our day, experience and feelings to someone at one point or the other as we collate those experiences.

I actually didn’t plan on talking about writers, reads like some immodest thing to do , or some nervous appeal for understanding. But I am really nervous and I find myself waking up suddenly wondering which page he is reading now and wondering if I should have added one more sentence or recreated that scene in a different way. He is reviewing right and I am in agony hoping at the end of the day, he does not refuse to pick my nervous call. My fingers keep hovering over the phone.

He has just had the book and other things are maybe demanding his attention but …sigh.. oh well. It is why I try to read a book sent to me to review. I remember days like this and try my very best to pay attention…but he is paying attention..I think or … no perish any negative thought I tell myself firmly.

Hey where is that book I was asked to review? Be right back soon. I promise.

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