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Orrupt Unable to wield a weapon Mamo instead reaches for a pen and soon begins to write the true history of Keti and its people all the time awaiting the return of his beloved brother LaMamo reading this book was listening to my father talk about his life before immigration i could easily see him and his mates living out their lives in this novel it was realistic fiction becuase it bought the nigerian of my father s youth and the nigerian during the present elections to life in a very sublte way helon habila writes in a plain fashion he puts me in the mind of chinua achebe what you see is what the characters see what you experience is what the characters experience what you take from it is what you take from it

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Measuring Time

In the small Nigerian village of Keti live Mamo and LaMamo twin sons of a domineering father When one day the boys try and escape the village only LaMamo succeeds and in time becomes a soldi Measuring Time by Helon Habila skillfully weaves the political and cultural environment of Nigeria from the 1960s to the 1990s with the lives of twin boys Mamo and LaMamo in the Nigerian village of KetiMamo the older twin suffers from sickle cell anemia is physically weak reserved introspective and intellectual LaMamo is athletic boisterous outgoing and glib The brothers dream of escaping from their domineering father to lead adventurous lives Their paths diverge after they run away together to become soldiers Mamo is forced to return home because of a health emergency LaMamo continues his journey and becomes a mercenary fighting alongside various rebel groups in Liberia and Guinea and eventually working with M decins Sans Fronti res Doctors Without Borders before returning homeAlthough Mamo s disease prevents him from leaving the village he escapes intellectually and emotionally from his father He succeeds academically becoming a history teacher in the local school He embarks on a project to write a history of the village through interviewing its people His project attracts the attention of village leaders who invite him to write a biography of the village chief Close interaction with village leaders exposes Mamo to the corruption bribery and moral turpitude of those in powerMeanwhile LaMamo travels to neighboring countries as a mercenary joining factions fighting for African liberation He keeps his brother apprised of his travels and activities by periodically sending him letters These reveal LaMamo s increasing disenchantment with wars with the exploitation of children coerced into fighting and with senseless killing and suffering of innocent civilians Through the lives of these twin brothers and the people they interact with Habila shows a society riddled with corruption A school that provides educational opportunities for village children is tossed around as a pawn between political factions and is eventually forced to close The money raised for drilling new wells in draught ridden areas is whittled away in the hands of corrupt politicians The police crush riots through brutality violence and intimidation Rebel leaders and their followers ostensibly fighting for African liberation from the yoke of colonialism rape and pillage at will As a result of their separate experiences the brothers become increasingly discouraged about the possibility of a better futureHabila s characters are realistically portrayed especially his protagonist Mamo who emerges as a sensitive conscientious individual determined to record the dignity and resilience of ordinary people in his village The description of village life inhabitants traditions and customs is rich in detail Habila has woven an intricate tapestry that threads the recent history of Nigeria with the lives of twin boys thereby expanding his vision to illustrate both the personal and political challenges facing a people A powerful story told in clear succinct prose with sensitivity and compassionHighly recommendedMy book reviews are also available at wwwtamaraaghajaffarcom

Helon Habila ☆ 2 Read

Er well versed in the ways of life and death Mamo too sickly to leave remains in Keti finding solace in the arms of Zara while watching impotently as his detested father grows powerful and c A remarkable piece of work by Habila His prose is lyrically attractive poetic a canvas of colours playing with some trompe l oeil techniues and intertextual references from various authors It s stories within a story The twin fighter vs the academic twin two sides of the same coin really although the academic twin occupies much of the narrative there is always an implicit reference to the risk taker and fighter Set in the Nigeria of the 60s to the 90 s we witness through the characters an array of political events played out by local government representatives The ending was the only part that let me down a little but all in all an excellent book


10 thoughts on “Measuring Time

  1. says:

    i wish i could have made a shelf called books in which two twins set off to become soldiers together only one has second thoughts and turns back and then they are separated and then i could put this and Gob's Grief on it however that is too long a shelf name to have APPARENTLYcome to my blog

  2. says:

    Measuring Time by Helon Habila skillfully weaves the political and cultural environment of Nigeria from the 1960s to the

  3. says:

    Really a 45 For all of what seem on the surface like gimmicks Nigerian twins the structure of the bildungsroman

  4. says:

    A remarkable piece of work by Habila His prose is lyrically attractive poetic a canvas of colours playing with some trompe l'oeil techniues and intertextual references from various authors It's stories within a story The twin fighter vs the ac

  5. says:

    I could live in this book and survive on these wordsthis is what I call a literary memory

  6. says:

    Measuring Time is the story of twin brothers their family and the people that shaped them Living in rural Nigeria village life and the natural environment add atmosphere and context Habila's story telling talents are evident in numerous ways His own narrative of people and events is interwoven with those of his protagonist Mamo who in later years writes about the people around him and thereby becomes a recorder of the local history Givin

  7. says:

    A long demanding novel it's also a slow starter I kept being tempted to bail out until at midpoint I figured out what it was about that was two of my favorite topics History national identity A true history the

  8. says:

    I waffled back and forth over if this book was a four star or a three starso it is getting a 3 from me I liked the book and found it very interesting But the reason for the three stars and not four is because the

  9. says:

    reading this book was listening to my father talk about his life before immigration i could easily see him and his mates living out their lives in this novel it was realistic fiction becuase it bought the nigerian of my father's youth and the nigerian during the present elections to life in a very sublte way helon habila writes in a plain fashion he puts me in the mind of chinua achebe what you see is what the character

  10. says:

    If I were still teaching I would teach this book not only for the uestions it raises to which I do not know the answers Nigerian history primary among them but also because it is beautifully told deceptively simple

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