Elnathan John: Born on a Tuesday


The latest addition to my website is Elnathan John‘s Born on a Tuesday. This novel could be said to be a Boko Haram novel, as, in the latter part of the book, we see the rise of a Sunni group which is intent on using violence, not only to destroy its traditional enemies, the Shiites, but also to attack more moderate Sunnis. The book is narrated by Ahmad, a young Nigerian Sunni, who had spent six years at a Koranic school, with virtually no contact with his family during this time, and, on leaving, joins a local gang of boys who are used to help the Small Party win an election, using violence to do so. When things really get out of hand and someone is killed, he briefly returns to his family but his father has died and his mother has lost her reason after the death of her twin daughters. He returns to Sokoto, where he works for and becomes close to a local Sunni Sheikh. However, the Sheikh’s assistant wants more violence, against the Shiites initially, and then against the Sheikh himself and things get out of hand. It is a well-told story and interesting to see how all sides rationalise their behaviour.

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