The House My Father Built

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In this memoir, about a house his father built, Adewale Maja-Pearce captures the essence of the last decade of the 20th Century. He paints, in the minutest of detail, the sense of transition, of inevitable change, of frustration at its slow pace. The reader, while focused on the small details, is coerced to lean back, and take in the big picture.

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In this memoir, about a house his father built, Adewale Maja-Pearce captures the essence of the last decade of the 20th Century. He paints, in the minutest of detail, the sense of transition, of inevitable change, of frustration at its slow pace. The reader, while focused on the small details, is coerced to lean back, and take in the big picture.

“But all that was a long time ago now, longer than the time it took me to dislodge the Alhaji and Ngozi and Pepsi, and longer again since my father died, the man who had willed me the house he built that made it all possible. I have written about him elsewhere. I had my problems with him; he had his problems with me. One of them was that I wanted to be a writer, not a physician, an incomprehensible decision which kept us estranged for years. The irony was that Nigeria was all that engaged me as a writer, which was why his gift was so apt, even if he hadn’t imagined it that way.”

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nineteen − 7 =

adewale maja-pearce author bookdealerng nigerias best online bookstoreAdewale Maja-Pearce (born 1953) is an Anglo-Nigerian writer, journalist and critic, who is best known for his documentary essays. He is the author of several books, including the memoirs In My Father’s Country (1987) and The House My Father Built (2014), several other non-fiction titles and a collection of short stories entitled Loyalties and Other Stories (1986)

Maja-Pearce has written in various genres, his early published work featuring short stories drawing on his Nigerian background, with his collection Loyalties and Other Stories appearing in 1986.

Most notable, however, as an essayist, he has written several non-fiction books, including the 2005 Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa and Other Essays, which in the opinion of critic Uzor Uzoatu “affords us the opportunity of dipping into the immense world of Maja-Pearce as he, in twenty-three heartfelt essays and reviews, illuminates the benighted mores of modern Nigeria, the identity question in South Africa … and engages with seminal minds across the world. …This book is a treasure, a profound testament.” Maja-Pearce was the editor of Christopher Okigbo’s Collected Poems (1986), as well as of anthologies such as The Heinemann Book of African Poetry in English (1990) and Who’s Afraid of Wole Soyinka?: Essays on Censorship (1991), and also wrote the 1998 and 1999 annual reports on human rights violations in Nigeria.

His memoirs include 1987’s In My Father’s Country: A Nigerian Journey and, most recently, The House My Father Built (2014), which the reviewer for the online magazine Bakwa described in the following terms: “a harrowing tale of Nigeria as it then was (1993-1999); a memoir of Adewale Maja-Pearce’s quest to possess his birth right, his country and personal dignity. …Mr Maja-Pearce presents the greatest cast of characters in the history of Nigerian literature. And nothing comes close, no cliché, except you consider Basi and Company by Ken Saro-Wiwa.”

Maja-Pearce has written journalism, essays and reviews for a range of international publications, among them The New York Times, Granta, The London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The London Magazine, and Prospect. He became a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times in 2013.