The Sound of Things to Come and the Smallness of the World

Uzoma Ihejirika

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There is a saying that the world is a small place, that there is always someone who knows someone who knows us. Ours, we have come to believe, is a far-flung, yet close by neighborhood.

In The Sound of Things to Come, Emmanuel Iduma’s debut, the world is made smaller, compact, and fitted into a university community in Ile-Ife. It is within this university community that majority of the actions in the book take place. From the university’s staff quarters to its departments and faculties and chapel, the characters traverse this setting that plays host to an array of funny, bizarre and startling occurrences.

In The Sound of Things to Come, Emmanuel Iduma’s debut, the world is made smaller, compact, and fitted into a university community in Ile-Ife.

The Sound of Things to Come is a novel-in-stories, with eight stories wherein the characters’ lives crisscross, and sometimes merge. With this book, it is fair to think that Iduma makes a case for individuality: the inward influencing the outward, a person before the people. For instance, in the title story, Moyosore’s sudden aversion for normalcy affects her marriage and her relationship with her sister; Ugo’s iconoclasm in “Helper” rubs off on her family in startling ways; Ella’s amnesia in “The Memory Band” is the foundation for further tension in Goody and Frank’s lives. In this book of disparate yet related stories, Iduma challenges the reader to piece the bits together, to make sense out of them.

With this book, it is fair to think that Iduma makes a case for individuality: the inward influencing the outward, a person before the people.

It is also imperative to note that most, if not all, of the characters in the book are driven by needs, and it is these needs that egg them on to fortune, disaster or nowhere at all. Frank and Goody in “The Memory Band”: an understanding to Ella’s unfortunate situation; Muna in “One Man”: an escape from his bitter past; Christian Ike in “The Museum of Silver Lights”: self-discovery; Mosun in “Monkey’s Wedding”: hoping to brook peace in the estranged relationship between a father and his son; the Chaplain in “A Father’s Son”: the complete love of his free-spirited son.

On the flip side, The Sound of Things to Come would have profited from closer reading that would have helped fish out the typos that threatened to disrupt the flow of the reading. But Emmanuel Iduma’s deft and insightful writing covers up for the book’s blushes. A little tidbit: Iduma features his friend and co-founder of Saraba Magazine, Dami Ajayi, as a character in the book. What other proves do we need about the smallness of the world?

PS: The Sound of Things to Come was first published in Nigeria as Farad by Parresia Publishers.  

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