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Tola Rotimi Abraham Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Black Sunday (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Tola Rotimi Abraham is an upcoming writer of historical fiction and cultural stories, hailing from Lagos, Nigeria. She has recently written and published her debut book, Black Sunday. Tola Rotimi resides in Iowa City, where she is pursuing her graduate degree in the field of journalism. She has attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and holds a graduation certificate. Before entering the field of writing, Tola Rotimi used to teach at Iowa University. During the earlier days of her career, she has penned several nonfiction and fiction stories that have appeared in some of the prominent literary magazines such as The Nigerian Literary Magazine, Catapult, The Des Moines Register, and a few others as well. With Black Sunday, Tola Rotimi took to writing full-length novels. This effort has proved to be quite beneficial for her.

Many critics are of the opinion that Black Sunday will destroy the readers. It won’t cause any explosion, but inflict a thousand small cuts from where the soul will pour out slowly. Some critics think that Tola Rotimi intended to do it and this is the reason why this excellent novel is filled with so much poetry, abandonment, heartbreak, poverty, pain, and abuse. The book follows the story of twin sisters, Ariyike and Bibike, and their younger brothers, Andrew and Peter. They all live in their parents’ house in Lagos. The family is not rich, but the members live a happy, calm life. The happiness begins to fade away when the children’s mom loses her job due to political reasons. The father tries many things to keep the family going, but fails. So, the mother starts working as a teacher.

Later, the mother loses the second job as well, forcing the family to join a church desperately to find help. However, the father loans out whatever money left with the family to a man, who runs away with it. As a result, the family is left with nothing. Then, the mother decides to abandon the family after she cannot take it anymore. Shortly after, the kids are left at their grandmother’s house by their father and abandoned. They left alone, poor, and orphaned. Whatever life throws at the kids, they are forced to deal with them while trying to make enough money for their livelihood. There are many standout elements in this novel and the most important one among them is Tola Rotimi’s writing. She has mixed poetry, pidgin English, street philosophy, and Yoruba to create a unique, mesmerizing style.

The chapters of this novel alternate between viewpoints of the 4 siblings. Each one of them has a distinct voice that makes the readers connect with what is happening in the story. Other than the writing, the novel is given a sense of cohesion by several underlying themes, including religion as the strongest of them. Tola Rotimi has shown how the siblings go on to shape themselves after they have been abandoned. The characters of Peter and Andrew provide wildly entertaining, vivid chapters that mostly deal with masculinity, growing up, facing abuses almost every day, and studying at a horrible boarding school.

Tola Rotimi has shown how grief changes and shapes people through the chapters of the twins. She has created believable that could have easily come from real life. The stories described by her are full of rejection, poverty, and mistakes that mirror the things that people have lived through. This way, the stories seem simultaneously universal and unique. Overall, Black Sunday appears to be a literary wound, bleeding pain, but staying the course can bring lots of beauty, hope, and love.

The debut book written by author Tola Rotimi Abraham is entitled ‘Black Sunday’. It was released by the Catapult publication in February 2020. The novel follows the fate of a family over a period of 2 decades living in Nigeria. Each of the four siblings in the family search for love, meaning, and agency as the story progresses further. Initially, it is depicted that twin sisters Ariyike & Bibike enjoy their comfortable life while living in Lagos during the mid-1990s. Things turn upside down when the family faces poverty due to job losses of their parent. As they begin to struggle, they get drawn to the New Church, led by a pastor who shows an interest in earthly wealth. Soon, their father wagers their family home on a bet that he was sure to win. Unfortunately, he loses the bet and all the money. This leads to the collapse of the marriage of the siblings’ parents.

While the parents are on the verge of getting divorced, they send the kids to live with their traditional mother. When they were with their parents, the twins were inseparable. But now, the shattering of their household has led to the separation of their paths. The girls are forced to fetch for themselves and their brothers. They are also forced to look after themselves and face the hardships that come their way from society. Author Tola Rotimi has written this novel with wry attention to detail and astonishing intimacy. Her description of the fickleness of fate takes the readers on a journey showcasing the chaotic aspects of family life. The novel traces a line from kinship’s euphoria to estrangement’s devastation. While doing so, the book tells a joyful tale of connection and grace amidst daily oppressions and struggles.

The novel goes on to become the story of 2 young women, who slowly find their distinct ways of resistance and roads to independence in a place filled with hypocrisy, hate, and also endless love and life, over the course of 20 years. Readers in different parts of the world enjoyed the cleverly structured narrative of the 4 siblings provided by Tola Rotimi. A common theme depicted throughout the novel is the need of men juxtaposed against ambivalence/ambition of the women they target. As the story nears its end, the motivations and motives behind the actions of the twins become clear. However, they undertake different journeys to find the measure of their peace, which is fraught with painful truths, self-doubt, lots of reflection, and self-sabotage. Tola Rotimi’s unique writing style and storytelling skills made this book even more interesting to read. Its success motivated her to begin working on the second book of her career.

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