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Night Dancer [Paperback]

Chika Unigwe
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Jun 2012

Mma has just buried her mother, and now she is alone.

She has been left everything.

But she's also inherited her mother's bad name.

A bold, brash woman, the only thing her mother refused to discuss was her past. Why did she flee her family and bring her daughter to a new town when she was a baby? What was she escaping from?

Abandoned now, Mma has no knowledge of her father or her family - but she is desperate to find out.

Night Dancer is a powerful and moving novel about the relationship between mothers and daughters, about the bonds of family, about knowing when to fulfil your duty, and when you must be brave enough not to. Presenting a vista of Nigeria over the past half-century, it is a vibrant and heartfelt exploration of one woman's search for belonging.

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Night Dancer + On Black Sisters' Street
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (7 Jun 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0224093835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224093835
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 335,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Unigwe has the kind of lyrical, intimate voice, that makes writing look easy" (Lesley McDowell Herald)

"Heart-breaking and moving, Chika Unigwe's novel is a definite page-turner" (Pride Magazine)

"Chika Unigwe is one of the most probing, thought-provoking writers of the recent renaissance in African fiction" (Bernardine Evaristo Guardian)

"Beautifully written, evocative and with heart-stealing characters, this novel is a joy from beginning to end" (We Love this Book)

Book Description

A moving and prescient novel on one girl's search for belonging, moving across the landscape of Nigeria's recent past.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars academic fakery 4 May 2013
NIGHT DANCER follows the life of Mma after the slightly mysterious death of her mother as she shuttles between family members making various acts of obeisance and contrition. Her mother is a figure of shame and disgust in the family, who perhaps commited suicide, or was more likely murdered by Mma, and who certainly doesn't live with Mma's father. Mma lives in Enugu, an Igbo stronghold in SE Nigeria and her father lives in the Hausa `capital' Kaduna.

The back story to the problems between Mma's parents is nothing more interesting than ordinary male infidelity resulting in pregnancy.

NIGHT DANCER is a book with such a high opinion of itself, (a completely unmerited opinion) that it is pretty difficult to shoot it down in flames in a matter of few sentences, but I'm going to have a go.

The style is awful. It's not just that Nigerian voice is fake (and it is fake) it is a 3rd person omniscient work and there is no rhyme nor reason for some of these awful sentences. There is at least one shocker on each page. We are quite accustomed to intellectual academics miserably failing to pull off vernacular, and this is no different, despite slightly less accessible nature of the vernacular.

The events of the story, and the descriptions of the events are not just boring, they are much less interesting than that. The content, family deceptions, is a universal one, and so should be transportable to any culture and time, and it is.

NIGHT DANCER would be a boring story set in 1930s West Egg, or Renaissance Venice.

The final events in the story, those surrounding the Miss World riots, have no real function other than to provide a hook or an addition to the blurb. Pretty cynical stuff.

NIGHT DANCER has all the elements of a book that will win a lot of praise. It semi `untouchable': the Emperor's New Book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love Chika Unigwe, but this book disappointed me 18 Nov 2012
By Malindi - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Chika Unigwe's work for years. I loved her short stories, as well as her book 'On Black Sisters Street'. Her writing usually captivates me, and she really takes her readers on an intimate journey with the characters she creates.
This book, however, disappointed me. The storyline is a bit weak. The pace is too slow. The book kind of plods along as Mma reads through her late mother's letters. We gather that her mother did not live a squeaky-clean life, and that Mma is angry with her.... but nothing really happens to move the story along (I'm halfway through the book).
Not Chika's best work, unfortunately.
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