TITLE: EVEN THE RICH BEG
AUTHOR: ONYEBUCHI OBIDIMARU
GENRE: PROSE FICTION
PUBLISHER: WORDS RHYMES AND RHYTHMS LTD
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2018
NO. OF PAGES: 122
REVIEWER: EUGENE YAKUBU
Even the Rich Beg contains gritty realism of everyday life in Nigeria. Despite the unpromising title, this tale promises a patch-up of various narratives revolving around different protagonist— Folake, Jens, and Madam Sade. In this moving story of pain and passion, poverty and wealth, hate and love, wit and folly, the writer strung up independent but related tales which all contributes in driving the story home.
The reader gets to face the story centered on Folake and her ordeals with a poor background and bid to combine work with school; and Jens the Europe deportee who passes through thick and thin to escape his home country and start a life of drug dealing in Birmingham only to be deported to his country and returned into a life of chauffeuring and domestic work in the house of Madam Sade.
Through the author omniscient narrative, the reader is also keyed into the life of Madam and her pain at losing her husband and dejection with life. The author’s feat of connecting different stories together, even though some irrelevant, is however commendable, for he has opened up deeper understanding on the characters and their past which tactically leads to the present setting of the novel.
This is style is a heightened form of flashback narrative which didn’t bore the readers by taking them back in time to meddle into histories that may not contribute to the plot.
Even though the story recycles a weak suspense, the plot twist however reignites the smoldering embers of the narrative. The story mechanically switched pace and direction when the writer shifted focus from Folake to Jens, to Madam Sade and finally returning to Folake and Jens meeting again and eventually falling in love.
This may not be the traditional kind of novel (fits well as a novella), it however delivers in precipitating a conflict, then the eventual resolution which nonetheless ends in a gloomy mood.
The characters are not developed, but the story is. They are shadowy and too surreal to grasp and understand. This weakens the narration and fails to leave enormous markings on the characters’ actions.
Even the Rich Beg is a Marxist narrative which unearths the too many economic tension in the society, reveals the class status in the society and portrays how factors of production affects and controls characters’ acts and personality.
The writer reveals the lowliest class of the society and also the elite represented duly in the different characters. It is an acceptable effort for a debut novelist.
Even the Rich Beg is recommended for its simple plot and easy delivery. The story thrives despite the complex story line. This is a good effort.
The author has invested his power of description in the work and this virtue slightly bores the reader who is expected to be at least fairly literate to decipher and understand the story himself. The author gave the reader no space to exercise his imagination in the story for he has stripped every nook and cranny in the story and unveiled its darkest scenes.
Even the Rich Beg ends in a solemn way; it isn’t what the reader will ever imagine even in the slightest manner. Such a plot twist totally leaves the reader begging for more of the story.