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The Bodies That Move


Loved it! 😍

An important journey that gives one a better understanding of how unfree freedom can be.

Much like the theory that water is the originating principle of all things from ancient Greek natural philosopher Thales of Miletus, author Bunye Ngene begins his debut novel, The Bodies That Move, with a description of water as supernatural, beautiful, and filled with nostalgia remembrance. But because of water’s completeness in all things, it quickly moves from a source of past freedom to one of present terror. Thus begins the journey of hardships that takes Nosa, the young protagonist, through his recollection of events that led him to being stranded on a small dinghy with others in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

Nosa begins chronologically with his high school graduation in Nigeria, also the Author’s home country, and the seemingly inevitable events that one needs to take in order to secure a better life. Because his father left his family for a rich woman, Nosa as the eldest child is responsible for the family but fails in finding a suitable job even though he graduated at the top of his class. Thereafter he is convinced to leave his home country for that better life. But along the way, Nosa and the reader examine the paradox of the various possible constraints on freedom.

The story quickly picks up pace once the journey away from Nigeria begins, which ends up trapping the reader in the many consequences much the same way Nosa is forced to follow a certain path given the limited number of options available. Therefore, Nosa becomes a sympathetic character that we hope makes it in the end. These are the two aspects that work the best for me as a reader. The editing between time periods never fails to lose my attention and further fleshes out the dire circumstances of the present.

The parts that did not work as well for me were the secondary characters that we meet along the way but are quickly forgettable. Apart from that, this book is a thoroughly enjoyable read about a journey that is repeatedly mentioned in the West but never in detail. We read the headlines of “ Migrants Stranded in Mediterranean” but never know how that stranding actually came to be. In this way Bunye Ngene provides the important and necessary missing link.

I would recommend this book to most of those interested in reading a debut, contemporary story from an author worthy of our attention.

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I've been writing for the Stanley Nolan Blog for over 8 years. You can find my writings there and also check out my Goodreads, IG, and Twitter.


About the author

The youngest of nine children Bunye Ngene, grew up in Lagos, Nigeria surrounded by laughter and books. When he's not writing or reading (literary fiction, thriller and fantasy) he's thinking of ways to be a happier person. He currently lives in Munich, Germany. view profile

Published on November 20, 2020

50000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Literary Fiction

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