Book Review: The Whispering Trees by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

This is my third book by the author and you can check out my reviews of his other two books titled ‘Dreams and Assorted Nightmares’ and ‘Seasons of Crimson Blossoms’ in “Book Reviews” on this blog.

‘The Whispering Trees’ is another short story collection by the author which is actually his first. written before “Dreams and Assorted Nightmares’. These eleven stories tell mostly tragic or dark tales of loss, grief and pain set in Northern Nigeria. Although almost all the stories carry heavy themes, the author’s excellent use of language which is sometimes poetic makes reading this collection quite enjoyable and easy. While some stories were relatable with characters you would empathize with even when you have no clue of what it would be like to be in their shoes, others were rather mystical or having elements of magical realism which I am not too much of a fan.

What I liked the most about this collection is how stories about ordinary everyday people, irrespective of whether they are living in a city or remote village can be used to reflect political oppression, poverty, cultural and religious values prevalent in our country. This collection was well written, fluid and I was glad that the last story ‘Painted Love’ ended well which I took as a gift. As usual, I would highly recommend this book however, if you are triggered by suffering, murder or anything darkish, I advise you may want to pass.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: December 19th 2012 by Parresia Publisher

Pages: 162

Genre: Short Stories


The Author:

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (born 1979) is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist.

His debut short-story collection The Whispering Trees was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014, with the title story shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing.

Ibrahim has won the BBC African Performance Prize and the ANA Plateau/Amatu Braide Prize for Prose. He is a Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow (2013), a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2015). In 2014 he was selected for the Africa39 list of writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature, and was included in the anthology Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara (ed. Ellah Allfrey). He was a mentor on the 2013 Writivism programme and judged the Writivism Short Story Prize in 2014. He was chair of judges for the 2016 Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize.
His first novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms, was published in 2015 by Parrésia Publishers in Nigeria and by Cassava Republic Press in the UK (2016). Season of Crimson Blossoms was shortlisted in September 2016 for the Nigeria Prize for Literature, Africa’s largest literary prize.[14] It was announced on 12 October 2016 that Ibrahim was the winner of the $100,000 prize. Ibrahim was the recipient of the 2016 Goethe-Institut & Sylt Foundation African Writer’s Residency Award.


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