I have read a couple of the reviews of this book by a prolific writer but this particular one struck a nerve with me (maybe because I love the Downton Abbey series and it has that Victorian element to it). This author has been everywhere and i mean that ‘literarily’ but had his humble beginnings in Jos. Read more here
Season of Crimson Blossoms grippingly depicts the vagaries of life. It bares realities and its intricacies. It examines the moral rules we live by. Humanity could be confusing; the same rigid laws that guide us, snuff us out. In the manner characteristic of Victorian literature, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim explores a puritanical society. Interestingly, he portrays well the fragile veneer masking strict morality. The society portrayed in the novel is typical of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Binta Zubairu and Hester Prynne share a striking similarity in their woes. This is how a puritanical society works: freedom is rejected for adherence; practicality is celebrated over sheer pleasure; the human will is heavily influenced by prescriptive religious mores. With that prescriptiveness, society turns against itself in its constant moralistic sanitization. Humanity is seen striving for divinity, and there lies the evil that ravages it. Humanity is humanity. The Supernatural is the Supernatural. When humans long to be preternatural, many things give. In Season of Crimson Blossoms, Binta Zabairu gives; Hassan ‘Reza’ Babale gives, and everything that surrounds their stormy relations.
The novel is the story of love (lust?) in unexpected places. Like life, other things follow this. Binta is at the centre of a complex commotion that trudges to a dampened climax. In Binta’s self realisation, she constantly battles with her society. Nobody wins an African society easily. Ask Ezeulu in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God. An African society heavily relies on the Ubuntu philosophy where personhood is only realized in communality. You are nothing outside the approval of your society. Binta breaches societal and religious norms, and the consequences are overwhelming. Beyond the travails Binta suffers and the boisterousness of San Siro are Nigerian politics and the consequent ethnic-religious crises. There is Senator Buba Maikudi, a roguish politician oozing grimes and candies from the same side of the mouth. The book uses riveting yet subtly dark humour to capture the entity called Nigeria. Yaro’s, Zubairu’s, and Fai’za’s parents’ lives serve as a counter-narrative to popular perspectives on the many ethnic-religious crises in the North. Season of Crimson Blossoms is a complete debut of everything wrecking a closely knitted society as ours. Above all, it lauds an individual’s will to rise above the conventional. Binta wills freedom here:
“She wanted it to be different. She had always wanted it to be different. And so when he nudged her that night, instead of rolling on her back and throwing her legs apart, she rolled into him and reached for his groin. He instinctively moaned when she caressed his hardness and they both feared their first son, lying on a mattress would stir.
What the hell are you doing? The words, half-barked, half whispered, struck her like a blow. He pinned her down and, without further rituals, lifted her wrapper. She turned her face to the wall and started counting. The tears slipped down the side of her closed eyes before she got to twenty.” (pg. 54)
The above is not just sex. A woman’s soul is being gruesomely wrenched off. Sex in her home is following through duteous motions.
Read the rest here
Abubakar A. Ibrahim also blogs here