John (Okechukwu) Munonye Biography
John Munonye Comments:
(1991) All six of my novels are children of the land. Set in the Igbo area of Nigeria, they draw from the experiences of ordinary men and women, children too. The motif is the processes of change that started with the arrival of Christian missionaries some sixty years ago. Culture ("all the arts, beliefs, social institutions … characteristic of a community") had to shift ground. And the environment, sensitive in its own way, was transformed too. How did our ordinary men and women fare in it all? Is there anything of their authentic nature that could be said to have survived the stress? The earliest experiences, which are depicted in The Only Son and Obi, were severe and traumatic. Later, people came to live with the new state of things, and the result is Bridge to a Wedding, a novel of accommodation and reconciliation between traditional and modern. We do indeed need the bridge.
Oil Man of Obange is a relentless tragedy, a novel of confrontation on an individual scale. The Oil Man musters all his energy, zeal, optimism, and integrity towards improving his low social status. But did he consult the god of success? A Wreath of Maidens also deals with moral issues—on a wider canvas. The blood shed in the end is not, unfortunately, that of the protagonists: it is a novel of futility. A Dancer of Fortune proceeds on much lighter feet.
What next? The beautiful ones are not yet born—yes. But hope is one of man's sustaining gifts, a gift of the spirit. With it goes vision (without which a people perish) and commitment. Nothing shrill or didactic; no sermons; no protest.
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