- Taschenbuch: 188 Seiten
- Verlag: Pearson Longman (6. Juni 1994)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0582236991
- ISBN-13: 978-0582236998
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,4 x 1,3 x 18,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 85.870 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Sozaboy: A novel in rotten English (Longman African Writers) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 6. Juni 1994
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Â This is both a novel of self-discovery and an indictment of a corrupt and muddled war Â a kind of sombre picaresque lifted by the vivacity of its languageÂ Helen Birch, City Limits William Boyd, who has written the introduction to Sozaboy, has described the author as Â an extraordinary man and an extraordinary writer.Â
Sozaboy describes the fortunes of a young naive recruit in the Nigerian Civil War: from the first proud days of recruitment to the disillusionment, confusion and horror that follows. The author's use of 'rotten English' - a mixture of Nigerian pidgin English, broken English and idiomatic English - makes this a unique and powerful novel.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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The plot follows a young man named Mene, who is eventually only known as Sozaboy, living in a small, rural village in Nigeria while tensions begin to build and suggest an upcoming war. The seemingly petty events of Mene's life, like his obsession with Agnes, the beautiful Lagos girl, eventually transform to create a heart-wrenching war novel. While growing up in his village of Dukana, Mene becomes an apprentice driver when his mom decides this to be the most lucrative career path for him, since she can no longer pay his school fees. His limited education is reflected in the mixture of pidgin English, corrupted English and "occasional flashes of good, even idiomatic English" that is used to narrate the novel, which Saro-Wiwa dubbed "rotten English" (iii). Although the narration can be, at times, difficult to follow, it is generally easy enough to figure out with the help of context clues and the glossary in the back of the book. Nonetheless, Saro-Wiwa succeeds in narrating an unbelievably eloquent novel, while criticizing the many facets of war. The language is absolutely innovative and allows for a very raw understanding of the events taking place. Above all else, simply reading the novel had a very artful air to it.
It is never specified when this war is taking place during Nigerian history, but many speculate it to surround the events of the Biafran War. There are various clues scattered throughout the novel that suggest this possibility, such as the difficulty of determining who is the Enemy, the vast exile to refugee camps, and the intense famine from which the majority of the population suffered. I spent the majority of my time while reading this book attempting to figure out what war Saro-Wiwa was discussing. However, upon finishing the book, I realized that this is only a minor detail that is of really no great importance to the general purpose of the novel, which is to condemn war. Despite the fact that it is a very Nigerian novel at heart, with its use of "rotten English," it clearly appeals to the universality of war, making the time period in Nigerian history an irrelevant discussion point. This extroverted novel is situated ambiguously so that all readers can understand war in the context that Saro-Wiwa frames.
Specifically, Mene's transformation from Mene to Sozaboy does not demonstrate his identity; instead it indicates his absolute lack of understanding regarding what it means to be a soldier and to be in war. Various instances throughout the novel, Sozaboy attempts to understand "Why are we fighting?" and the phrase "war is war" (90). He is never able to determine who is the real Enemy, when he has seen both sides of the war commit such great atrocities. Saro-Wiwa succeeds in his war criticism by portraying this arbitrary nature by which death and suffering is brought about during war and how war as a whole can never be truly justified because there is no such thing as a "good side."
Sozaboy decides to become a soldier because of the taunting from the World War II veteran in his village and his love interest's desire to be with a man that can protect her. He wishes to impress all the residents of Dukana by returning with his uniform, gun, and some medals, but the truth of war taught him, "now if anybody say anything about war or even fight, I will just run and run and run and run and run" (181). The innovative language and strong social/political commentary within Sozaboy makes it a masterpiece of our time.
A key feature of this book is the language. The author calls it "rotten English". Rotten English is a mix of Pidgeon English, corrupted English and good English. The voice is musical and magical. I can hear my West African friends in my ear as I read.
The language is evocative. You are there. You see this man-child move from place to place, from side to side, never really understanding the world around him. What soldier really grasps the meaning and purpose of war? What soldier can really find his or her own place in the chaos? Right and wrong get lost in the meat grinder.
The last paragraph never fails to make me weep.
"And I was thinking how I was prouding before to go to soza and call myself Sozaboy. But now if anybody say anything about war or even fight, I will just run and run and run and run and run. Believe me yours sincerely."
It stands up with the very best anti war fiction.