- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Ake: The Years of Childhood Paperback – 5 Oct 2000
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The first volume of Wole Soyinka's acclaimed series of autobiographical works. This vivid, exuberant book is the author's account of his childhood in colonial Nigeria. Soyinka's rich and evocative prose tells the tales of his schooldays and adventures, recollecting fears and dangers, and always sensitive to the surprises of childhood. Days full of discoveries, excitement, the presence of spirits and the tribal rituals of his colourful family - including his father - are lovingly recalled.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Soyinka's early chapters show him as a very small child, just becoming aware of the world outside his home. I was reminded of the similar 'feel' that Laurie Lee conjured up in his recollections of infancy in 'Cider with Rosie' (albeit in a very different setting!) Later we see his early intelligence, and his attaining a scholarship. In the last couple of chapters the fairly tame Women's Group to which his mother belongs starts to take up politics, fighting the iniquitous tax levied on the poor and gradually becoming part of the anti-British rule movement.
Extremely well-written with some amusing episodes, bringing his world to life.
Born into a teaching family, Wole Soyinka lovingly recalls a headmaster father he calls Essay and a severe mother nicknamed Wild Christian, who certainly is the ruler of the household. But around this potentially unlocatable family, there exists an eclectic mixture of Yoruba tradition, imported educational values and imposed colonial rule.
The young writer's concerns, however, are exactly what might be expected of a growing lad. He chases things, explores, is naughty - sometimes very naughty! He is punished and rewarded. Life goes on. There are local concerns, sometimes wider ones. He eats plenty of good food and, by no means uniquely, but certainly eloquently, describes the multicultural reality of colonial West Africa.
Whether it was the reader or the writer is unclear, but when, about half way through the book, Wole Soyinka starts to relate his school experiences, Aké seems to change into a different, much more vivid book. Recollections become stronger, more deeply felt, more keenly described. What had already been a joy now becomes thoroughly engaging as well.
Wole Soyinka's neighbours did become objects of great interest, and not merely because they figured in this book. Their name, Ransome Kuti, may be familiar. It's a family that produced in successive generations two of Nigeria's most famous musicians. Strangely, their family too lives its life just like the others, with no apparent inkling of the greatness to come.
As Aké progressed and this reader continued to search for what made the author such a great writer, it began to become clear that the only thing that made this man was experience, something we all share. Individually, any experience is unique; it does not need to be dramatic, violent, broken or ecstatic to be special. It is special because it was experienced. And this is what makes Aké, in the end, such a great statement. It's life. Let's get on with it.
Through his young eyes, Soyinka also weaves into the story the importance of the role of the people in bringing about change in the their country. Even though his reports are intended to be the views of child it is obvious that he was very aware of what was happening around him.
Soyinka tells his story with honesty, insight and never ending humour. A truly enlightening, enthralling and delightful book.