February 2020: Better Never Than Late by Chika Unigwe February 22, 2020 – Posted in: Book Of The Month – Tags: Belgium, Better Never Than Late, Cassava Shots, Chika Unigwe, Europe, Migration, Nigeria, Short Stories
We are super delighted to announce that for the month of February, we are reading 𝐁𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐍𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐋𝐚𝐭𝐞 by Chika Unigwe.
Better Never Than Late charts the unconventional lives and love affairs of a group of Nigerian migrants, making their way in Belgium. The collection is centered around Prosperous and her husband Agu, and the various visitors who gather at their apartment each week. These interconnected stories explore their struggles and triumphs, from unhappy marriages (of convenience or otherwise), to the pain of homesickness, and the tragic paradox in longing to leave Nigeria so that you may one day return to it.
We picked it for the following reasons;
- We have never read any of Chika Unigwe’s works as a book club
- We loved that it was set in Belgium
- We loved the name and we were curious to explore the themes and creativity behind it.
Religious fervour culminates in an exorcism for one unfortunate maid. A harrowing encounter on a train haunts Anuli. A mother abandons her child in search of personal freedom. A wife joins her husband, only to be met with news that threatens their relationship.
This richly imagined collage of interconnected stories follows Prosperous and Agu, and the motley community of Nigerian expats who gather at their apartment each week. Their reality is one of dashed hopes, twisted love and the pain of homesickness, even as they fight to make their way in this new world.
Better Never Than Late is a layered and affecting portrayal of the everyday absurdities and adversities of migrant life.
Author, Chika Unigwe is not new to the writing game. Chika Unigwe @realchikaunigwe was born in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Nigeria and the KU Leuven, Belgium. She holds a PhD from the University of Leiden, Holland.
Unigwe is the author of four novels, including On Black Sisters Street and Night Dancer. On Black Sisters’ Street won the $100,000 Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2012. Her short stories and essays have appeared in various journals including The New York Times, The Guardian, Aeon, Wasafiri, Transition, Guernica, Agni and the Kenyon Review.
Her works have been translated into many languages including German, Polish, Hebrew, Italian, Hungarian, Spanish and Dutch. A recipient of several awards, she sat on the jury of the 2017 Man Booker International Award and is the director of Awele Creative Trust, an NGO she set up to encourage creative writing among young Nigerians.