In Nigerian novelist and journalist Okey Ndibe's powerful debut novel, living to tell the tale is not enough—you must also tell it. Twenty years after its original publication, and now with a new Foreword by the author, Arrows of Rain remains a vital exploration of the importance of story in opposition to corruption and the steep cost of speaking truth to power.
“A story that must be told never forgives silence.”
In the country of Madia (based in part on Ndibe’s native Nigeria) a young sex worker runs into the sea and drowns. The last man who spoke to her, the “madman” Bukuru, is asked to account for her last moments. When his testimony implicates the Madian armed forces, Bukuru is arrested and charged with her death. At the first day of trial, Bukuru, acting as his own attorney, counters these charges with allegations of his own, speaking not only of government complicity in a series of violent assaults and killings, but telling the court that the president of Madia himself is guilty of rape and murder. The incident is hushed up, and Bukuru is sent back to prison, where he will likely meet his end. But a young journalist manages to visit him, and together they journey through decades of history that illuminate Bukuru’s life, and that of the entire nation.
A brave and powerful work of fiction, Arrows of Rain continues to resonate as a necessary morality tale and a brilliant dramatization of the complex factors behind the near-collapse of a nation from one of the most exciting novelists writing today.