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review 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. Really a 45 For all of what seem on the surface like gimmicks Nigerian twins the structure of the bildungsroman etc it adds up to a smart elegant story Mamo and LaMamo grow up neglected by their father and raised by their aunt Mamo is physically weak from sickle cell anemia LaMamo is strong They run away and LaMamo becomes a soldier Mamo is forced to turn back and becomes a teacher and a historian The pathos and boredom of Mamo s life is punctuated by LaMamo s letters from Liberia and Guinea where he is a mercenary soldier cum assistant to Medecins Sans Frontieres Mamo by dint of his writing is invited into the corridors of power but at personal and moral cost LaMamo s reappearance at the novel s end brings the story s action full circle The storytelling is graceful and economical Concerned as the novel s protagonist is with writing one is reminded that there are in fact good cliches

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Measuring Time

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

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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. 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 main character reflects is one that looks at the lives of individuals ordinary people who toil and dream and suffer who bear the brunt of whatever vicissitudes time inflicts on the nation If a historian could capture these ordinary lives including their recollections of their own family s past then he might come close to writing a true biographical history of a nation for when we refer to a nation are we not really referring to the people that inhabit that nation and so isn t the story of a nation then really the story of the people who make up the nation And in a sense that s what this author does in telling the story of this amateur Nigerian historian of a sort But it s a different Nigeria than one sees in Half of a Yellow Sun though there are some similarities too in a story that covers some of the same years but in a different part of Nigeria But why do fictional missionaries to Africa always come from Iowa


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 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 li

  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

  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

  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 ma

  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

  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 f

  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 Ni