Welcome to the 5th and Final Day of The Domestication of Munachi Virtual Book Tour!
We’re pleased join forces with Creative Writing News and Parrésia Publishers to host Nigerian author, Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu, as she rounds up the five-day book tour for her debut novel, The Domestication of Munachi.
Below is a blurb, followed by a short extract and reading from the novel. The author is on hand to answer any burning questions, so be sure to leave your comments below for a chance to win a FREE copy!
On a hot Sunday afternoon years ago, two sisters walk in on their father’s sexual liaison with the family’s hired help which leaves them both scarred in different ways.
Years later, unable to bear the thought of marriage to a man she barely knows, the younger and more adventurous one, Munachi, runs away from home on the eve of her traditional marriage, unwittingly resurrecting a long buried feud between her religious mother and eccentric aunty. This conflict leaves a door open for the family’s destruction.
The Domestication of Munachi is a novel about the unnecessary pressure on women to take on life partners, regardless of who these partners are and the psychological impacts seen through the stories of two sets of sisters—Munachi and Adanna versus Chimuanya and Elizabeth.
Mama Adanna recalled her own marriage had been an ordeal. While her mates had got married, she had been left in the dark. Out of six children, there had been two girls – herself and Chimuanya, her sister who was younger by six years. The men who came for her hand in marriage were never good enough for her mother, a stern woman who had spent her whole life farming and raising her six children after her husband died. Later, Mama Adanna went for her teacher training certificate and became a secondary school teacher. Her younger sister chose to become a cloth trader in Onitsha. As time passed, Mama Adanna, whose given name was Elizabeth, became a spinster at thirty. While her younger sister received all the suitors, she was considered old and unsuitable for a bride. Until Equitos had come along.
That December had been the worst. Equitos, a young man working with the Local Government, had come to ask for Chimuanya’s hand in marriage. Of course, Chimuanya had laughed at him. She had been making a substantial income, enough to buy her a small car which she used to shuttle from Awka to Onitsha before she relocated to Lagos. Their mother had tried all she could to make the match work, to no avail. Chimuanya was as stubborn as their mother and everyone in the house had felt the heat that Christmas. It was then Elizabeth had approached their mother. She was interested in the marriage. She was willing to marry him. In fact, she had been desperate.
To make him take notice, she visited his family home and prepared here special ofe ora dish. His mother took notice. Every Sunday, she visited his home in Awka and prepared rice and tomato stew, the way her mother had taught her with just the right sprinkling of curry leaves. The stew she cooked could tempt angels from their heavenly abode. She did his laundry. She kept his home clean. By April of that year, he brought wine to her mother to marry her. They had not told her mother that she was pregnant.
Elizabeth remembered those years living as a spinster, called an agadi behind her back, walking to church alone in the evening to kneel at the alter and ask God why her own was different. Her mother had given up on inviting young men to the house and now freely advertised her to cousins and friends who knew a widower somewhere looking for a wife. At prayer meetings, her name came up as a special point and almost every evening she joined the vigil sisters and brothers casting and binding the evil spirits that had masked her face so that suitors would not see her. She remembered wishing she was more like Chimuanya, whose eyes were on the money she could amass in her bank account. Elizabeth did not want to be rich, she wanted her own husband. She remembered attending her friends’ weddings one after the another, being introduced to the groom’s friends and being abandoned when they learnt she was not as young as they would have liked. She had crossed the twenty-five year mark by far, and through no one said it to her face except her mother, she knew that the eggs in her womb were on their way to rotting.
Aside wishing she could travel more often and she could stop answering questions nobody ever asks, Ifesinachi O. Okpagu (@) is a creative mom with the superhuman abilities to get bored when she’s working on a single project at a time. The Domestication of Munachi is her first novel.
She was educated at Queens College, Lagos, and at the University of Benin where she obtained a BA in Fine and Applied Arts. Ifesinachi also holds a Masters degree from the Pan-African University where she graduated top of her class. She has written several stories, some of which have been published in Sentinel Nigeria, the African Roar Anthology and Saraba Magazine.
She has written/produced several screenplays for the big screen and for television.
Related country: Nigeria
All rights to this story remain with the author. Please do not repost or reproduce this material without permission.