Because of its focus on the Menai language and people, Chuma Nwokolo’s latest novel is particularly relevant for 2019, which is the International Year for Indigenous Languages.
In the early 1980s, a pharmaceutical company administers an unethical drug trial to residents of the Niger Delta village of Kreektown. When children die as a result of the trial, the dominoes of language extinction and cultural collapse begin to topple. Decades later the end looms for the Menai people. Continents-apart twin brothers separated at birth, an excommunicated daughter living an urbane life with her doctor husband, and an infamous vigilante are among the indelible characters whose lives are shaped by this collective tragedy. Not least of these is the spiritual leader Mata Nimito, who retraces his people’s ancient migration on his quest to preserve the soul of the Menai and resolve the consequences of a centuries-old betrayal.
In The Extinction of Menai, Chuma Nwokolo moves across time and continents to deliver a story that speaks to urgent contemporary concerns. He confronts power relations between large corporations and small communities, corporate lobbies and governments, and big pharma and consumers, all expressed through the competing narratives that record the life and death of a civilization. In a novel of stunning scope, Chuma Nwokolo moves across time and place to deliver a story that speaks to urgent contemporary concerns. His characters’ indelible voices offer perspectives that are simultaneously global, political, and intimately human.
It was one of the Publisher’s Weekly Best Fiction Picks for 2018
The Extinction of Menai received a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly.
” The madcap twists and turns that ensue provide a joyful counterpoint to Mata’s somber odyssey, and Nwokolo manages to brilliantly distill his branching plot into a singular portrayal of a threatened culture. “
Review in Fictioningdevelopment.com
“Many academic research are in tandem with this. In difference to many academic writings telling about culture and language extinction, Chuma Nwokolo does not tell us, he shows us how languages and cultural extinction are not inseparable from human actions and inaction. His work reminds us further on the need to check our language status and the role the daily choices we make plays in its extinction. “
Buy The Extinction of Menai