It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Beautiful Side of the Moon by Leye Adenle. This is speculative fiction with moments of magical realism and told in part as an ode to African storytelling.
About the Author
Leye is the winner of the first ever Prix Marianne in 2016, and is a Nigerian writer living and working in London. His short story, ‘The Assassination’, in the anthology Sunshine Noir, was a finalist for the 2017 CWA Short Story Dagger award. Leye comes from a family of writers, the most famous of whom (to date) was his grandfather, Oba Adeleye Adenle I, a former king of Oshogbo in South West Nigeria.
About the book
Marking an exciting new departure by award-winning Nigerian author Leye Adenle (Easy Motion Tourist, When Trouble Sleeps), The Beautiful Side of the Moon raises an entirely unexpected and intriguing question – what would happen if God went on holiday?
In order to get a better understanding of what it’s like to be human, and to taste humanity’s joys and sorrows, God decides to have a holiday as a human being. During the course of his time off, though, he completely forgets that he’s God, which leads to some utterly unpredictable outcomes…
If I had to make a comparison, which many don’t like or agree with, however I feel sometimes comparisons help to explain certain reading experiences. It isn’t about suggesting an author is equal to or the same as an author with a better known writing career, well for me it isn’t. Sometimes it helps to show correlation between ideas, styles and creativity, in this case because the story may divide opinions.
Saying all of that, for me this definitely had a Gaiman and American Gods vibe to it, in a sense that it uses mystery, folklore, satire and poetic prose. However Adenle also uses theology, spirituality, magical realism and actual onstage magic to create and expand upon the premise.
Part of me can’t decide whether it is better to know who Osaretin is going into the read. It’s in the majority of the blurbs. Or whether the reader should be allowed to come to their own conclusion, regardless of the conclusion they come to, because based on their own frame of reference, experiences, spirituality or lack of it, they could come to a different one.
In essence this is about the loss of faith, the discovery of faith and whether it can exist without the premise of the persona the faith is based on. On a more visceral level is it asking if the world is in such chaos because of a lack of faith?
Clearly an interpretation of the story or reading experience will depend on the reader and their personal relationship with faith and whether they believe in the concept that faith is based on.
This is speculative fiction with moments of magical realism and told in part as an ode to African storytelling. Combining all these aspects, genres or sub-genres will perhaps explain why it doesn’t fit it any pre-manufactured boxes. It asks for the reader to look beyond the norm and embrace the more elusive elements of the read, for them to become the visionary, as opposed to the author being presented as said visionary.