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The Stillborn (Longman African Classics)

Zaynab Alkali

62 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0582026571 / ISBN 13: 9780582026575
Published by Longman Group United Kingdom, 1990
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Stillborn (Longman African Classics)

Publisher: Longman Group United Kingdom

Publication Date: 1990

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

About this title


Considered a milestone in African literature: this is the first novel from a woman writer with a Muslim background. It tells of a young woman's experiences in the recurring conflict between traditional and modern values in Africa today, reflecting the author's belief that women should strive to fulfil their potential. The work, whilst being of general interest is also suitable for schools, colleges and universities and is prescribed O level study for West African Examinations Council English papers.


"It is well to long as we live, we shall continue to dream. But it is also important to remember that like babies dreams are conceived but not all dreams are born alive. Some are aborted. Others are stillborn." Zaynab Alkali's first novel, The Stillborn, follows the dreams of three Nigerian village women: Li, Awa, and Faku. All three wish to marry; each envisions her own satisfying future. Enchanted by tales of city life, Faku marries, moves to the city, and becomes the second wife of a polygamous husband. Awa marries the local school's headmaster and proclaims she will "not need to go to the city. The city will come to us." Progress does come to the village but brings unexpected consequences for Awa. Li, the book's central character, marries her dashing lover but waits years in her village for him to come and collect her, only to discover that life with him is worse than life without. Each woman faces a changing world that presents both potential loss and a chance for freedom as traditions collapse and new ones form. The Stillborn sharply criticizes the sexism of traditional Nigerian society and the lack of roots in the new, city-based culture, while at the same time it praises the strength and determination of these three women who choose different paths into unhappiness and must find their own ways out. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister

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