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Smooth writing, vivid description, and an amazing plot.

By Catherine NyomendaPublished about a month ago 3 min read

After reading "The Concubine" by Elechi Amadi in Secondary school many years ago, my cousin is still scared of women and has refused to marry to date. He said he saw Ihuoma in all the women he dated. Insisting that he doesn't want to die yet, that he is taking his time to find the right woman who has no spirirtual husband. I told him that time waits for nobody and he is almost 40 years but told me that it's better to marry late than to die early.

In Elechi Amadi's novel The Concubine, Ihuoma is a young woman caught up in a series of events beyond her control, but she is also a woman with a secret. Ihuoma is the widow of Emenike, a man who dies under mysterious circumstances at the beginning of the novel. Many of the villagers blame Madume, the man with whom Emenike has been embroiled in a land conflict. After Emenkie's death, Madume tries to claim Ihuoma, but he ends up being blinded by a cobra and hanging himself. Ihuoma, who is a gentle person, mourns both men and the village's loss through their deaths.

For a whike, Ihuoma focuses on the task of raising her three small children. She receives helpfrom the women of the village, who all respect and love her, for she is kind, strong, beautiful person who attracts everyone. A problem arises, though, when she also attracts Ekuweme, who is already betrothed to another woman. Eventually, Ekuweme manages to become free to marry Ihuoma, whose care cured him of a magical malady, but then a priest warns Ekuweme's parents that there is a major problem with the relationship.

At this point, readers discover that Ihuoma is not who she appears to be. She is actually a goddess in human form, a mermaid betrothed to the jealous Sea - king, who is out to destroy all men who desire Ihuoma. His influence lies behind the deaths of both Emenike and Madume, and by the end of the tale, Ekuweme also dies, proving vividly that one does not mess with the Sea- King's bride.

“Ihuoma’s complexion was that of the ant-hill. Her features were smoothly rounded.”

"Ihuoma's smiles were disarming. Perhaps the narrow gap in the upper row of her white regular teeth did the trick."


This story was amazing, it explored love and I love love so much! But sadly, the love took a tragic turn. However, I have some reservations.

The title of the book does not sit well with me, I don’t like it. The author took his time in describing her beauty, body, hair and character. He labelled her a woman of ‘exemplary character’. Well, I want to believe he did that because he is a man first of and that kind of obedient, beautiful and ‘envy of other men’ kind of woman is what every man desires in a patriarchal society as he described in the book. Another baffling thing is that Ihuoma used to address her late husband as ‘My Lord’.

Funny thing, when there was an epidemic of small pox in the village, the villagers dreaded calling it that. It was termed ‘the good thing’. They thought by calling it ‘the good thing’ they would not contract it. The villagers were also advised to be kinder because the disease could come in human form to ask for something and on refusal, they risked contracting it. That is hilarious.

Justification was also found for domestic violence and male dominance was reinforced. Imagine Ihuoma not being able to have a large farm or mend the roof of her house because it would seem insulting to the men in her village. I’m glad that all this repugnant culture is gradually fading off in the society.

If you are a lover of books in the African Writers Series, this is a good one. If you also like love stories, hop on this book


About the Creator

Catherine Nyomenda

I love writing. I love the swirl of words as they tangle with human emotions. I am a flexible writer and can write almost anything, do you need any help creating content? Well then, get in touch...

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Comments (1)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Oooo, a goddess and a mermaid! I aspire to be Ihuoma! Hehehehehehehe. I laughed so much for the small pox thing! They are so silly and dumb! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Catherine NyomendaWritten by Catherine Nyomenda

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