The novel, Born On A Tuesday by Elnathan John, focuses majorly on the adverse effects of religious intolerance and extremism. It presumably draws its inspiration from the rising number of clashes between religious sects in some parts of the country. Born On A Tuesday also touches on the issues of greed, and excesses in political spaces, likewise selfish human interests and desires.
Set in the northwestern region of Nigeria, the plot of the novel unfolds through the viewpoint of Ahmad. Ahmad had come as a boy to Bayan Layi from Sokoto to complete his Quranic training. Upon successfully completing his training, Ahmad becomes stuck in Bayan Layi and soon becomes an almajiri. Unable to return to his family, he settles for life with the street boys where he is introduced to a life of violence and crime. Events eventually lead him to find his way back home. Sadly, returning home only leads to the realization that things have changed and will likely never return to what they used to be. Things seem to look up for Ahmad when he becomes the favored apprentice of a Sheik. But, eventually, every appearance of a better life for Ahmad disappears in an instance.
Born On A Tuesday, as a whole, tells a really relatable and moving story. That I was in Zaria and witnessed the clash between the Shia religious sect and the Nigerian military that took place in December 2015, made the scenes in this novel really come to life in my mind. I could sense the tension, imagine the chaos and panic, and feel the overwhelming feeling of fear all over again. However, at certain points in the novel, I felt like attention was shifted to stuff that wasn’t really important. Quite a number of issues that didn’t in anyway contribute towards the resolution of the novel were focused on.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the devastating end to Ahmad and Aisha’s love relationship. Being a sucker for love stories myself, I quickly connected when a love interest came into the picture for Ahmad. And when circumstances forced himself and his love interest apart, I had expected that, for love’s sake, theirs would be one of those with an eventual happy ending. Alas, my expectations were completely shattered and I was left feeling sucker punched at the actual resolution.
In my opinion, Born On A Tuesday might require a bit of patience on your path. Most especially if you are a lover of fast-paced fiction like myself; as this one isn’t particularly fast-paced. That notwithstanding, for the weight of the issues it tackles, I’d say Elnathan John’s debut is definitely worth the read.
NOVEL TITLE: Born On A Tuesday
Author: Elnathan John
Published: May 3rd, 2016.
Publisher: Groove/Atlantic, Inc.
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