Saturday, August 13, 2011
By Omoseye Bolaji
Review by Public Eye
Omoseye Bolaji’s latest book: Miscellaneous Writings, is one that encapsulates many of his shorter writings over the last two years or so. Many of the articles
had been published in diverse international journals and magazines.
Now they comprehensively appear in book form for the first time.
The book is touted by many literary pundits as the 30th published work
of the author (Bolaji) who is a novelist, short story writer,
playwright, literary critic, poet, journalist, and editor.
The essays in this work straddle many topics and individuals. The
author touches on the world of literature; sundry writers and their
works, sports, social affairs, modern technology, arts and culture
generally, music, among others.
As a literary critic himself, it is not surprising that Bolaji has a
number of chapters devoted to writers. He includes chapters on writers
as varied as DH Lawrence, NMM Duman, Lewis Nkosi, Teboho Masakala,
Sheila Khala, Ola Rotimi, Camara Laye etc
For me, his articles on the distinguished Zimbabwean writer, Dambudzo
Marechera; and on the late Lewis Nkosi stand out . His approach to
Nkosi is a bit different from the conventional one – he focuses on his
undercutting “humour”, and the effect of this is that many would feel
like grabbing a copy of the man’s works!
Bolaji ruminates on a number of issues in this work. He states that
modern world for example takes technology for granted, and can not
appreciate the marvels of the world we live in. We tend to forget (the
young do not even know) that things like cell phones and internet are
hardly up to 20 years old in the entire human existence! But Bolaji
philosophises on such matters, and puts things into perspective.
It is for this reason that some literary commentators, including the
current writer, believe that Bolaji shares a lot in common with
writers like the Bronte sisters who lived almost two hundred years
ago; these were nigh mystical people who seemed to have one foot in
this world and one elsewhere; realising the futility and vulnerability
of human existence.
Some of the chapters here adumbrate Bolaji’s fiction, moving us
intensely, despite their brevity. Read the “essay” titled “Stumped”
for example, and we see Bolaji in microcosm: the pacy writing, twists
and turns, and startling conclusion. Elsewhere, Bolaji brings in the
artist/painter Stephen Achugwo in classical fashion too, with quick
strokes that fascinate us.
To mention but a few of the chapters in this new work: The wretched of
the earth, The allure of the festive season, Wordsmiths to the fore,
Bastions of defence, The radiance of the king, A tale of two crooks,
The pulsating vanguard of change, The distinguished bards, Guitarists
with brio, Murder in the temple, The burgeoning wordsmith
Omoseye Bolaji’s other books include They Never Say When, Snippets,
Impossible Love, Fillets of Plaice, The ghostly Adversary, The
Guillotine, Tebogo’s spot of bother, Molebogeng Alitta Mokhuoa, My
Opinion, The subtle transgressor, Reverie, My life and literature,
Poems from Mauritius, Tebogo and the Haka, Tebogo and the
epithalamion, and Tebogo and the pantophagist
* This review was first published in PUBLIC EYE, Friday August 12 edition