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Feather Woman of the Jungle [Paperback]

Amos Tutuola

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Book Description

Jun 1988
In Feather Woman of the Jungle, the people of a Yoruba village gather on ten memorable nights to hear the stories and wisdom of their chief. They learn of his adventures, among them his encounter with the Jungle Witch and her ostrich, his visit to the town of the water people and his imprisonment by the Goddess of Diamonds. Each night the people return, eager to discover if there is a happy ending. Amos Tutuola was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, in 1920. His first novel, The Palm-Wine Drinkard, was acquired by T. S. Eliot and published by Faber in 1952.

Product details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Books; New edition edition (Jun 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872862151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872862159
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.7 x 1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,088,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Amos Tutuola was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, in 1920. The son of a cocoa farmer, he attended several schools before training as a blacksmith. He later worked as a civil servant. His first novel, The Palm-Wine Drinkard, was published in 1952 and brought him international recognition. From 1956 until retirement, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Company while continuing to write. His last book, The Village Witch Doctor and Other Stories, was published in 1990. He died in Ibadan in 1997.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating collage of myth and tall tales 1 Mar 2002
By Bob Newman - Published on
Every now and then the world's attention is drawn to a strange figure in the world of arts, a figure who "doesn't belong", who has not paid the proper dues and hasn't struggled up through the usual channels. No, that person suddenly rockets into the artistic firmament, does things in a totally unconventional way, and is immediately pounced upon and torn apart by those who have studied, worked, and sweated, dreaming of brilliant success. I think of somebody like Grandma Moses, who didn't start to paint until she was 78 and never attended a single art class, didn't know about a single "artistic convention", yet became one of the most popular American artists ever. The critics rewarded her by calling her "primitive". Yeah, right. Then, there was Niko Pirosmanishvili, a Georgian painter, who died in obscure poverty in 1918, having painted startlingly original images on any material he could get his hands on. The title "primitive" was bestowed on him also. Right here in my home town we had J.O.J. Frost, who painted scenes of the Marblehead he'd known as a child and events in the town's history. He painted on odd boards and tried, unsuccessfully, to sell his works for a nickel or a dime. After he died, he was recognized as a true artist and today his works are in New York and Washington. You can't get hold of one for love or less than a huge amount of money. A primitive. Amos Tutuola is a member of this little band, an original, a genius, a man who had no training, but just wanted to tell a lot of stories. If he'd written them in Yoruba, his mother tongue, we would never have heard his name. He wrote them in English, an English suffused with the tones and twists of West Africa. And guess what. Some African critics even felt ashamed of Tutuola's work, as it was not modern or European enough for them. Too primitive, right ? That word again. OK, for sure he doesn't write as smoothly as Hemingway or Turgenev; his grammar and spelling may leave something to be desired. But for those people who have not read Tutuola---don't miss your chance. If you love a story, if you love color and imagination, if you could like tales full of witches, magic, devils, and strange towns, if you are not totally wedded to the literary conventions set down by the critics, by the English departments of the world, then read Tutuola. "The Palm Wine Drinkard", "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts", or FEATHER WOMAN OF THE JUNGLE---all are great.
Tutuola's stories certainly do have connections to local Nigerian myths, traditional stories told for centuries. I will leave structural analysis to those so inclined. Unless you are familiar with the myths, though, everything will seem new. It seemed to me as I read through the account of six fabulous journeys that Tutuola's imagination had been fired by the cinema, both American and Indian. When mixed with the Yoruba tales, you certainly do have a fantastic result. If you are only interested in conventional novels, probably you'd better skip this book, but if you like Grandma Moses, if you like works by anyone who just fires away regardless of what critics say, then you're going to love FEATHER WOMAN OF THE JUNGLE. Original. Imaginative. Outstanding.
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