Book of the month: To Kill A Watchman
Author: Edwin Madu
Publisher: The Jeli Stories
Page Numbers: 25
‘To Kill A Watchman’ is a short story of contemporary fiction, which tells the story of Kashimawo, a man whose tragic life meets its fate during one night as a watchman. As an uneducated man living in Ife, Nigeria, he encounters misfortunes which follow him for the rest of his life.
From the title and the image on the front cover, I was able to assume that the plot centred on a man who was either killed or was to commit the act and was correct in my assumption. However, this answer wasn’t hinted throughout the book, only being revealed towards the end.
Even though the story was a very quick read, Edwin Madu was able to express the cultures he experienced being born and growing up in Lagos. The use of Yoruba during dialogue and the introduction of the ‘priest’ (local village doctor) as a key secondary character illustrated the location of the story and gave background information on Madu’s heritage.
After reading a few times, I was able to pick up on the theme of the futility of relying on other people, as eventually, they will disappoint or no longer be able to help. Throughout the story, Kashimawo relies on a variety of characters from his wife, his colleagues, the priest and God. Without revealing too much, all of them help him to the point where he cannot do much for himself, and his dependency on them leads to his own downfall. This theme wasn’t clear from reading the book initially, but it was noticeable that by the end of the book, he is truly a victim of isolation due to his lack of education, skill and love.
Overall, the story was an interesting read. I was able to experience the shortened life of Kashimawo, whilst embracing the culture of the country through the use of language. However, as the story was so short, this didn’t allow the plot to be complicated, therefore it isn’t something I would read again, or necessarily recommend to others, unless one is simply looking for a quick read from a Nigerian short story.
The mystery of their God’s ways was a bit too much for him.
If you have any recommendations for us to read, then let us know! Comment below, and we’ll check it out!