Nearly All The Men In Lagos Are Mad by Damilare Kuku

Genre Fiction – short stories.

Blurb ‘A collection of short stories, structured as case-studies, and a form of love letter in solidarity with the women who have survived romantic relationships with men in Lagos….it deftly analyses the various archetypes women are likely to encounter in the dating scene in the city – from serial cheaters, to mummy’s boys, from the ‘fake it till you make it’ adherents to the ones who can’t commit.
This book underscores with wit, humour, wisdom, and sensitivity the perils of trying to find lasting love and companionship in Africa’s craziest city that will prove universal and illuminating.’

Dialogue Written in English, Nigerian Pidgin and a sprinkling of Nigerian languages. The dialogues lend credence to the stories.

Themes There are several themes explored in the various stories. Some common themes are: Love, Loss, Family, Abuse, Communication and Friendship.

Editing A few errors.

What worked? Happy New Year! It’s good to be back reading and reviewing books again. Long may it continue.

We are glad to start this year’s review with Nearly All The Men In Lagos Are Mad. It’s a crazy title, pun intended. We just want to say thank you to whoever coined this title, as it caught our attention and reminded us of why we love reading.

This book is a collection of 12 fictional short stories about relationships. It’s probably more appropriate to call this an anti-love story collection. Set in modern-day Lagos, the book explores the lives of characters that cut across the social strata of this economic and social hub of Nigeria. It is written with vivid imagery and narration which hits you in the face. The book is deliciously scandalous.

Nearly All The Men In Lagos Are Mad is not for the faint-hearted as Damilare does not hold back in shining a light on various societal issues such as infertility, adultery, the effects of grinding poverty, rape, etc. However, we appreciated the wit she employed to tell these stories. Some of them were so funny we laughed out loud.

The characters in this book were relatable even if most of the women were exasperating. Relatable in the sense that you either know someone who behaves like that or at least, have heard of someone who acts that way.

This book highlights the patriarchal values in the Nigerian society and as you continue to read, you see that the relationships fall apart when neither party toes the lines of societal-foisted expectations.

The book is an engaging read. Damilare employs the second person point of view for most of the stories, which is unusual and effectively draws you in as a reader such that you feel like a participant in the story. You become vested in the characters in the few pages that they exist until the end of their story.

Our favourite stories are ‘Cuck Up,’ ‘Ode-Pus’ Complex,’ ‘First Times and ‘Independence Day’. The funniest story was ‘International Relations,’ even though it ended on a serious note. One other thing which is striking about this book is the title of the stories. They are apt and show off the author’s creativeness.

All in all, we enjoyed this collection and look forward to more books from Damilare.

What didn’t work? As with any collection of short stories, there were a few stories which didn’t work for us. ‘The Gigolo from Isale Eko’ didn’t live up to expectation. Perhaps, because it was immediately after ‘Cuck Up’ which was our favourite. The former was passive and blerghhh. ‘Catfish’ seemed out of place in the collection. Yet, in a way, it showed what a melting pot Lagos is. The ‘Anointed Wife’ had us rolling our eyes at the absurdity. Even though we felt Damilare was flirting with the lines of plausibility, it would not be surprising if it happened in real life.

There was a lot of explicit sexual content in the stories which we found jarring as most of time, it seemed to come out of nowhere. Also, we found the progressive intensity of the stories a bit tiresome. By the time we got to the end and even though, ‘Independence Day’ is a favourite, we were tired of the madness in Lagos and wanted out!

Number of pages 246.

Publisher Masobe Books.

Damage $9.50 on Amazon Kindle.

Rating 7.5/10. Nearly All The Men in Lagos Are Mad is available on Amazon and local bookstores.