Tolu’ has shown that a work of fiction can be written with courage and vulnerability. The seven stories in “Inferno of Silence” are immersive, gripping and mirrors the everyday burden we face in the society.
Racism, Relationships, Religion, Mental Health, Depression and Political Upheavals amongst many others makes this collection of short stories a classic.
Excerpt from the Story “Inferno of Silence”
Kunle dropped his bag on the dining table. The table was starting to creak from all the unplanned baggage it silently bore. He enjoyed taking the ferry a few minutes from his office. Not only did it afford him a few minutes of silence before his wife got home, he also enjoyed the view from the boat.
He especially liked watching in the far distance, the ships berthing at Apapa ports, swaying on the waves of the sea.
He liked to think that he bore the weight of his problems on his shoulder like the ports bore the weight of the ships. But he was not the sea, he did not bear the load on his shoulder so gracefully. He was a man, a man whose wife invoked unfamiliar emotions within him. He had tried to discuss this with his father. Once. His father had waved away his concerns, in the process his hands waving away the smoke from his tobacco towards the east. “All women are crazy,” he had said, “you just have to know how to handle them.”
Handle not like a mother ‘handled’ a child, but more like how a Nigerian soldier ‘handled’ a belligerent danfo driver or how some women ‘handled’ the devil they believed possessed a slow housemaid.
He did not like this type of handling; in fact it repulsed him. He had watched his father punch his mother into submission and he had vowed never to be that man; and now that his father was emphasising it, he blamed himself for seeking marital advice from a man he detested in the first instance.
Excerpt from the Story “Black Lives Matter”
“This is not the end,” I consoled myself.
The picture was starting to become clear to me. Each time I looked myself in the mirror, my reflection yelled the answer to the questioning stares and unfair treatment I received in the city and on the field. I never knew I was black until I arrived in Europe. The only thing I knew was that I was a few shades darker than the usual dark. My friends called me charcoal or baba dudu but only on few occasions and as a praise remark rather than a taunt. It never crossed my mind that racial debates will hang loosely like a mist over sound judgement. The bearded Indian was right.
I cut out a cardboard sheet and wrote on it with a marker pen, I AM NOT INFERIOR. And on another, I wrote BLACK IS NOT A SYNONYM FOR INFERIOR, and hung them on my wall in my apartment.
I had to come up with a mantra that could guide a newcomer like me until I was able to find my feet.
‘Inferno of Silence’ is available now: https://amzn.to/2xLUdJr and