Walking Shadows: Stories of Tragedy, Love & Triumph
by Chijioke Dikeocha
Farreach Media

"I abandoned my ‘humanistic’ self-centeredness and embraced the ‘animalistic’ brotherhood."

On the surface, this is an anthology of nine intriguing stories that provoke universal discussions about love, university life, loss of innocence, persistence, poverty, and, ultimately, silver linings. Digging deeper, Dikeocha’s stories are powerful agents of change that seem intent on creating awareness for current issues facing Nigeria. From tackling the literacy and academic dishonesty of university education in “Campus Lovers” to exploring themes of corruption and lust in “End-Time Disciples,” the author exposes the harsher underbelly that constantly plagues Nigerian society.

While the stories are primarily plot-driven, there are numerous characters who readers will find memorable. In particular, Ikeoha Ikemba and his steadfast determination not to bribe the invigilators supervising the exams despite immense pressure is admirable. In contrast, seeing that an entire institution would so easily resort to cheating was undoubtedly stunning and a not-so-subtle attempt by Dikeocha to shed light on common occurrences in the Nigerian educational system.

On the whole, the author employs simple sentence structure and writes with vibrant detail to appeal to all levels of readers. Embedded in the text is the theme of adversity and failure—and the silver lining or resilience that is formed as a result. In “End-Time Disciples,” Amaka endures unspeakable tragedies and ultimately transforms her experience into the Heart Menders’ Club, an organization empowering women to share their experiences. In light of the “Me Too” movement, the significance of such entities cannot be overstated. Ugonma in “Victims of Circumstance” touches on the sensitive, taboo nature of mental health, while “The Face of Love in Tragedy” marks the trials overcome by Akunna as she raises nine kids to become successful adults while also becoming successful herself. Dikeocha’s text has the potential to revitalize and will assuredly bring pertinent conversations to the forefront.

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