Review of Eghosa Imasuen’s Fine Boys

Title: Fine Boys
Author: Eghosa Imasuen
Publisher: Farafina (Kachifo Limited)
Pages: 379
Reviewer: Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

I will start off by saying that Eghosa Imasuen has written a fantastic book which you must hurry to read. I am tempted to describe this book, Fine Boys, as a coming of age story – which indeed it is – but it is more. It is our story, the story of a period in the life of our nation. The story of the years of the meltdown, when our nation finally spiraled out of control politically and economically.

At the centre of the tapestry is Ewaen, from whose voice this entrapping story is told. Ewaen can easily pass for any Nigerian who was an undergraduate in any Nigerian university in the late 80s and early 90s. At the very beginning of the story, we meet this smart, upper middle class adolescent who is eager to gain admission into the university to study Medicine. It’s a very familiar experience, the ‘waiting for admission’ period. Ewaen spends his time with friends, playing computer games, trying out new vices and fantasising about school.

Quite early in the book also, we meet Wilhelm, Ewaen’s ‘half caste’ friend who has a penchant for overdoing anything he falls in love with, as seen in his adoption of pidgin English as his default language of communication, despite being a late comer to it. His stubborn dedication to any cause would prove to be a double-edged sword and a huge factor in moderating this story.

Fine Boys leads us through the experiences of these two young men and others of their age whom they meet in school. Friendships are formed. Experiences are shared. They quarrel and make up. They fall in love. Some learn to smoke, others to drink. Something, however, is ever-present; the usual pressure to join a campus cult; ‘confra’, as they are called in the book. Some join. But there isn’t just one cult and the field is never large enough for all, hence the conflict which plays out and threatens to consume all the friends a few years down the line.

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo, author of The Funeral Did Not End, is Feature and Review Editor for Sentinel Nigeria Magazine. Read the rest of this review on Daily Times Nigeria.

Fine Boys will be available soon in bookstores near you.

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