In The Name of Our Father by Olukorede Yishau

In The Name of Our Father 1

Genre Fiction: Thriller

Blurb “The desire to become a novelist suddenly seizes Justus Omoeko. He wants another title other than a journalist for which thousands know him. He is soon inspired by the story of a popular prophet in town and decides to write a thriller out of the dark patch that is the life of this renowned man of God, who has the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force, General Sani Idoti, as one of his clients. Prophet T.C. Jeremiah hits the jackpot when the military usurper in power recruits him to help ensure his longevity in office. Money begins to fall into his accounts as though he has a cash tree at the back of his house. But, the more money he makes, his family falls apart. He performs miracles. Yet, his ex-prostitute wife finds it hard to conceive.”

Dialogue Written in English and Nigerian Pidgin, the dialogue was sometimes, stilted and unnatural.

Themes Facing Darkness, Good vs Evil, Power and Corruption, Greed and Role of Religion.

Editing A few copy editing errors. Needed better substantive editing.

Plot Justus Omoeko, a journalist, writes a book about the shenanigans of a popular prophet in town, Prophet T. C. Jeremiah. Thereafter, he receives threats not to publish the book. Before he makes a decision on the threats, he becomes a political prisoner of a murderous regime.

Review

Spoiler alert!

This review contains spoilers. We review without spoilers but it’s almost impossible to do so for this book, hence the alert. May as well take advantage of Mo’s absence to do whatever I like (jk).

We usually split our reviews into “what worked” and “what didn’t work” but this is one time when those subheadings don’t work. So I’m just going to share my thoughts of both together.

In The Name of Our Father is narrated in the third person which is helpful to see the perspectives of all parties involved in the stories (there is a story within a story – Part I of the book is about Prophet T C Jeremiah and Part II is about Justus Omoeko, the journalist). Set in Nigeria under military rule in the 90s, it is the story of Alani, later known as Prophet T. C. Jeremiah who moves from a life of abject poverty to a well-known prophet of God following a series of unfortunate occurrences in his life.

The book chronicles the dark underworld of “pastorpreneurship,” and shines a spotlight behind the scenes of the miracles and flashy lifestyles of “men of god.” There is also the partly true, partly made-up story of the military rulers of the 90s, Ibrahim Babangida, who annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election in Nigeria and Sani Abacha, who was Head of State for much of the story, and whose actions had a big impact on both main characters in the story, Prophet T. C Jeremiah and Justus Omoeko.

One thing which didn’t work for me was the names of the characters who were parallels for real-life characters in Nigeria’s history, Babangida, M. K. O. Abiola, Sani Abacha and Oladipo Diya. I don’t know if Olukorede was trying to make a statement by naming these characters with ridiculous sounding names.

I also think the substantive and copy editors did the author a great disservice, phrases such as; “surprise took over the prophet,” “as nightgown and boxers flew in the air, the world dissolved” to describe a sex scene and “she was neither too tall nor too short” to describe a character should not have made it to print. There were several similar cringe worthy phrases in the book. The editor also ought to have ensured the storytelling flowed better.

Some things were not clear in the story. Did the supernatural powers of the Brotherhood work or was everything just make believe and manipulation? I really couldn’t figure out which it was. One minute, Prophet Jeremiah was calling people fools for believing in his fake miracles, the next minute, he was complaining about the powers from the Brotherhood no longer being effective.

Some of what happened in the story seemed exaggerated and implausible, especially the deaths including multiple deaths in one family. The one thing which rang true was Justus Omoeko being arrested as a coup plotter for an opinion piece he wrote, “The Coming Coup,” even though the title was metaphorical. It was the type of dumb thing former, Head of State, Abacha, who was afraid of his own shadow would have done.

I think this would have been a compelling read but the storytelling let it down. Even for a debut book, the storytelling left much to be desired. The narration was choppy and attempts to introduce flowery writing just seemed forced and fell flat. There was no nuance in the story, Olukorede spelled everything out. Even the thoughts of the characters were in dialogue form. *cringe*

In the Name of Our Father is a reminder of Nigeria’s dark past and the dysfunction in all spheres of life the country. Sadly, most of the ills which the story highlights are still happening now, two decades later.

Number of pages 237.

Publisher Origami, an imprint of Parresia Publishers.

Damage $5.78

Rating 6/10

In The Name of Our Father is available on Amazon.

Have you read In the Name of Our Father? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

 

 

11 replies

  1. I have read In The Name of Our Father and I actually have a different opinion. While I agree that no work of art is perfect, the storytelling was good for me. I do not see anything wrong with playing with the names of people like Oladipo Diya (Iya Odogbolu) and others. I did not see any editing issue that affected the story adversely. But we all cannot see things from the same perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think your closing sentence says it all. As I stated clearly in the review, the names issue did not work for me. I appreciate that it may not be an issue for others that Sanni Abacha was called Sanni Idoti in the book, knowing what Idoti means in Yoruba. When I read a book even if it is fiction, I’d rather it mirrors real life. This is why I rarely read fantasy because I find it difficult to relate.
      Substantive editing issues is my opinion. Copy editing issues is factual. As I said in the review, there were several phrases that should not have made it to print. In addition, there were typographical and grammatical errors. E.g. “The boy was pelted him…” “whom she had soft spots for” “They heard a car horning outside their building” to mention a few. We have a category for editing because it is a problem in books by Nigerian authors and publishers and we want this to improve so we highlight it in all our reviews.

      Like

  2. I picked up and finished reading the book in one day and it is one book I read and felt like writing to the author. It is easy to comprehend and I look forward to reading more from him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, I read In The Name of Our Father and it was an amazing read, I must say!

    It was so interesting that immediately I started reading it, I could not stop until I got to the last page!

    I loved how both stories were weaved together in the book, and for me it still came out well.

    Kudos to the author!

    Liked by 1 person

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