Coming Back
by Nwanganga Shields
Primix Publishing

"As the car approached the first of the Ohafia villages, where yam barns stretched from the roadside and beyond, a chill went down Clint’s spine."

Achi, a house slave in early twentieth-century Nigeria, returns in a new incarnation as his Nigerian American grandson, Clint. The twenty-two-year-old American son of immigrant parents has just graduated from college and is due to attend law school in three weeks. Although he's blessed in many ways, his life feels incomplete. A visit to Nigeria in the past included so many challenges that his parents vowed never to take Clint or his younger sister Sarah to their home country again. However, his memories, his association with friends who maintain ties to Africa, and his thirst for understanding family heritage drive Clint to make new plans for his immediate future.

The novel begins at a slow, somewhat stiff pace—a seemingly appropriate ambiance for conservative immigrants striving to fit into North American culture. The tale soon gains momentum and spark when Clint follows his instincts and requests an academic deferment. He also bucks parental expectations by taking a summer job at a bookstore rather than work at his father's law firm. Familial tempers fly, and the resulting stress propels Clint on a flashback to his childhood, when his dreams and visions of another life in Africa first emerge. These soul memories and the melding of Clint's past and present continue during his year-long journey to southeastern Nigeria, where death is not the end of life.

Shields spins an exciting international adventure that can only be narrated by someone intimately familiar with Nigerian culture and history. The novel is dedicated to the author's grandfather—a slave brought to Arochukwu, Nigeria. The theme of youthful rebellion against parental plans is made fresh again in this tale. Meanwhile, the paranormal and spiritual motif and dual storyline open up a deeper, richer, and more mysterious narrative than would be possible in a non-speculative story.

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