Ogunyemi’s powerful stories center on a moment in the 1980s when four young women led a protest at their school, ending in tragedy. The stories dart forwards and backwards, to the United States and back to Nigeria, as Nonso, Remi, and Aisha navigate love, careers, racism, and the pull of Christianity and Islam against traditional Nigerian spirituality and religion. Connections are so important to this book, not just in the subtle ways that the stories fit together, making me feel like a literary detective, but in the strong bonds of friendship that connect these wonderful women.— Daniel Goldin
I couldn't put this book down and I loved spending time in the lives of Nonso, Remi, Aisha, and Solape. Truly this book will grab hold of your heart and mind and everything in between.--Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist
Nigerian author Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi makes her American debut with this dazzling novel which explores her homeland's past, present, and possible future through the interconnected stories of four fearless globe-trotting women.
Moving between Nigeria and America, Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions is a window into the world of accomplished Nigerian women, illuminating the challenges they face and the risks they take to control their destinies.
Students at an all-girls boarding school, Nonso, Remi, Aisha, and Solape forge an unbreakable sisterhood that is tempered during a school rebellion, an uprising with repercussions that will forever reverberate through their lives. The children of well-to-do families, these young women have been raised with a thirst for independence, believing a university education is their right--a legacy of ambition and hope inherited from their foremothers.
Leaving school and adolescence behind, the women grapple with the unexpected possibilities--and limitations--of adulthood and the uncertainties of the world within and outside of Nigeria. A trip to Ghana opens Nonso's eyes to the lasting impact of the transatlantic slave trade, she falls in love with an African American, and makes a new home in the United States. Remi meets Segun, a dynamic man of Nigerian descent from Yonkers whose own traumatic struggles and support gives her the strength to confront painful family wounds. Aisha's overwhelming sense of guilt haunts her, influencing career and relationship decisions until she sees a chance to save her son's life and, through her sacrifice, redefine her own.
Revolving around loss, belonging, family, friendship, alienation, and silence, Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions is a moving, multifaceted portrait of lives shaped by hope and sorrow--of women who must contend with the ever-present and unsettling notion that moving forward in time isn't necessarily progress.
I truly loved this linked short story collection. The narrative takes us into the intimate workings of friends and families. Omolola explores their complex lives in astoundingly beautiful language. If, like me, you enjoy stories that take you out of your reading chair to worlds that follow you back to your own, then this is the book for you.--Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, award-winning author of A Woman of Endurance