Helon Habila: Measuring Time



If I were still teaching I would teach this book not only for the uestions it raises to which I do not know the answers Nigerian history primary among them but also because it is beautifully told deceptively simple and filled with love and wisdom anger and illness dishonesty and naive hopeful belief Mamo and LaMamo are twins who as children seek adventure and fame and as adults realize the dark side of both ambitions I waffled back and forth over if this book was a four star or a three starso it is getting a 3 from me I liked the book and found it very interesting But the reason for the three stars and not four is because the most interesting part for me was xperiencing life in an African village and how civil warsany war affect the life of people living in the conflict areas The author does an xcellent job of painting the picture of African village life and giving depth to Mamo the main character But the storyline didn t really capture my attention I njoyed reading it but mainly because the background and setting kept me capturednot the story so muchOverall glad I read the book and it was better than I Love for Imperfect Things expected it to be but the journey I went on through the book was not via the storyline just the story setting and background Measuring Time is the story of twin brothers their family and the people that shaped them Living in rural Nigeria village life and the naturalnvironment add atmosphere and A remarkable piece of work by Habila His prose is lyrically attractive poetic a canvas of colours playing with some trompe l oeil techniues and intertextual references from various authors It s stories within a story The twin fighter vs the academic twin two sides of the same coin really al. In the small Nigerian village of Keti live Mamo and LaMamo twin sons of a domineering father When one day the boys try and scape the village only LaMamo succeeds and in time becomes a soldi.

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Ercenary joining factions fighting for African liberation He keeps his brother apprised of his travels and activities by periodically sending him letters These reveal LaMamo s increasing disenchantment with wars with the Taking Instruction (Taboo, exploitation of children coerced into fighting and with senseless killing and suffering of innocent civilians Through the lives of these twin brothers and the people they interact with Habila shows a society riddled with corruption A school that providesducational opportunities for village children is tossed around as a pawn between political factions and is Language and Linguistics eventually forced to close The money raised for drilling new wells in draught ridden areas is whittled away in the hands of corrupt politicians The police crush riots through brutality violence and intimidation Rebel leaders and their followers ostensibly fighting for African liberation from the yoke of colonialism rape and pillage at will As a result of their separatexperiences the brothers become increasingly discouraged about the possibility of a better futureHabila s characters are realistically portrayed Divertimento especially his protagonist Mamo whomerges as a sensitive conscientious individual determined to record the dignity and resilience of ordinary people in his village The description of village life inhabitants traditions and customs is rich in detail Habila has woven an intricate tapestry that threads the recent history of Nigeria with the lives of twin boys thereby xpanding his vision to illustrate both the personal and political challenges facing a people A powerful story told in clear succinct prose with sensitivity and compassionHighly recommendedMy book reviews are also available at wwwtamaraaghajaffarco. Orrupt Unable to wield a weapon Mamo instead reaches for a pen and soon begins to write the true history of Keti and its people all the time awaiting the return of his beloved brother LaMamo.

Though the academic twin occupies much of the narrative there is always an implicit reference to the risk taker and fighter Set in the Nigeria of the 60s to the 90 s we witness through the characters an array of political vents played out by local government representatives The Promise at Dawn ending was the only part that let me down a little but all in all anxcellent book Measuring Time by Helon Habila skillfully weaves the political and cultural nvironment of Nigeria from the 1960s to the 1990s with the lives of twin boys Mamo and LaMamo in the Nigerian village of KetiMamo the older twin suffers from sickle cell anemia is physically weak reserved introspective and intellectual LaMamo is athletic boisterous outgoing and glib The brothers dream of scaping from their domineering father to lead adventurous lives Their paths diverge after they run away together to become soldiers Mamo is forced to return home because of a health Bangkok Wakes to Rain emergency LaMamo continues his journey and becomes a mercenary fighting alongside various rebel groups in Liberia and Guinea andventually working with M decins Sans Fronti res Doctors Without Borders before returning homeAlthough Mamo s disease prevents him from leaving the village he The Right Sort of Man (Sparks Bainbridge Mystery escapes intellectually andmotionally from his father He succeeds academically becoming a history teacher in the local school He Darkmere embarks on a project to write a history of the village through interviewing its people His project attracts the attention of village leaders who invite him to write a biography of the village chief Close interaction with village leadersxposes Mamo to the corruption bribery and moral turpitude of those in powerMeanwhile LaMamo travels to neighboring countries as a Er well versed in the ways of life and death Mamo too sickly to leave remains in Keti finding solace in the arms of Zara while watching impotently as his detested father grows powerful and

Helon Habila was born in Nigeria in 1967 He studied literature at the University of Jos and taught at the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi before moving to Lagos to work as a journalist In Lagos he wrote his first novel Waiting for an Angel which won the Caine Prize in 2001 Waiting for an Angel has been translated into many languages including Dutch Italian Swedish and FrenchIn 2002 he moved