It is the rainy season of 1998. An autocratic and corrupt ruler has just died in the arms of courtesans at the presidential villa leaving one hundred million citizens of Africa’s most populous country in comingled states of joy, grief and uncertainty.

Through the eyes of eight fictional characters, A Rainy Season tells the story of Nigeria’s latest journey to democracy. Hamed, the government contractor. Ekei, the desperate fashionista. Jude, the underground radical. Kurdi, the womanizing pastor. Tamara, the ambitious divorcee. Elechi, the inquisitive schoolboy. Mutiu, the disillusioned guard. Nonye, the blossoming idealist. The sprawling metropolis of Lagos is the junction where their stories intersect. In this most chaotic of cities, they are as divided by ethnicity, religion, gender and social class as they are united by a desire to survive at any cost.

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Nigeria in the late 20th century was a country of contradictions. Despite playing a leading role in the anti-apartheid movement, the government clamped down on the rights of its pro-democracy elements. Despite its role in leading peace-keepers to both Sierra Leone and Liberia, several ethnic and religious clashes undermined its unity. The city of Lagos – the economic capital of the country – is a microcosm of Nigeria and adds to Nigeria’s innumerable peculiarities the hallmarks of a fast-growing global metropolis.

In African culture, the rain can be used to identify both positive and negative impacts – it can be the harbinger of floods or it can be the source of a great harvest. It is the same with the eight characters in the book and their respective passages through this rainy season in Nigeria’s history. Their lives, their moral dilemmas and above all, their dreams emphasize a desire to survive no matter what it takes.

Read more about the book and characters here.

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