Arrows of Rain is the debut novel of Nigerian American author Okey Ndibe.
The book was published under the Heinemann’s African Writers Series and it chronicles the story of two men, one searching for truth about his past and the other for redemption for his past.
This book is deeply haunting and powerful. It doesn’t lose its pace. As a reader You are sucked into the fictional country of Madia that is under the autocratic rule of a mad man who calls himself the Life President.
This actually gave me Amin vibes whose full title was (I kid you not); His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hajji Doctor Idi Akin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Dead and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in particular.
Eerily similar to what the President Isa Pallat Bello calls himself. Was this intentional by the author?
The fictional Madia is a country in West Africa that is based on Nigeria but could very well be any country.
An African reader, in particular, will see how their countries’ histories are mirrored by the book. As an example, I was reminded of how Ugandan people welcomed Amin’s ousting of Obote with dancing in the street but then suffered the next few years under a dictatorship so bad, my mother can’t talk about it. More recently with what happened to Zimbabwe.
The book is rich in culture and recognisable politics, and it explores the corruption of government and of humans and what silence can do to you. It’s both hilarious and sad.
The main theme, I found, wasn’t about the politics or the mystery surrounding the death of the prostitute. It was about what silence can do to the soul.
Bukuru’s grandmother tells him multiple times, ‘A story never forgives silence. Speech is the mouth’s debt to a story.’
And this story doesn’t forgive silence.
If this were a goodreads review, I would give the book five stars.