One of Nigeria’s famous and celebrated columnists, Sam Omatseye has written an epic historic novel about class, race, witchcraft and family. Crocodile Girl, Sam’s second novel after ‘My Name is Okoro’ was released in 2017 by Parresia Publishers Ltd.
Crocodile Girl is one Nigerian novel that I think deserve more publicity than it currently receives. In this book, Sam Omatseye takes the reader through interwoven centuries of slavery, witchery and witch-haunt reminiscent of the Catholic Church’s inquisition of the 14th – 15th century. It tells of two young people, Alero who is a descendant of a cursed family, now living in Orogun village where her beauty is scorned and everyone must do everything to avoid her for she is thought to be an offspring of a crocodile – her mother having been presumed to be a witch who appeared regularly in the form of a crocodile to enchant and kill unsuspecting villagers. And Tim Forester, an American who is a descendant of a family of slave traders, with roots traceable to Orogun village.
Crocodile Girl is a story of how their lives get interwoven in a vivid, enigmatic and catalytic way that leaves the reader swooning and thinking many things including the wickedness of the world, hypocrisy and evil beyond imagination.
With the increasing rate at which Nigerians mete out jungle justice to presumed witches and the stigma surrounding those the society regards as witches – Sam Omatseye’s Crocodile Girl is a must read. The book also draws attention to the caste system, and how financial and economic status empowers people to see others as subservient. It’s also of how people get disoriented when they are removed from one place to another.
Check out the synopsis of the novel:
“The novel periscopes two prejudices, both rooted in slavery and race. A disturbed young American, Tim Forester travels to an African village to interrogate a story that he descends from a black woman in the slavery era. A black beauty, Alero, is ostracised by the village elite because her ancestors were labelled as champions of the slave trade era. Tim is told that the family ancestor’s grave lies in a forest. Alero also hears that her dead mother, who was called a crocodile as a way to stigmatise her family as slave dealers, always had a locket believed to be in the forest. Both believe the truth is in a forbidden forest known as “the forest of silence.” Tim and Alero confront their pasts and prejudices and what happens to them turns the village into a commotion of revelations that rile young and old, and expose centuries of elite hypocrisy and fear”.
The book can be purchased on Amazon and from Page Books Connoisseurs – a bookshop run and managed by Paresia Publishers (+2348154582178, +2348062392145).
Twitter: @PAGE_Book_C, @Parresiabooks, @Samomatseye