Damilare Kuku's Nearly All Men in Lagos are Mad: 'International Relations '

This post discusses the review on Damilare Kuku’s Nearly All Men in Lagos are Mad: ‘International Relations ‘

International Relations Review

Have you met the different kinds of Lagos men? Have you met…
-the wife-material-obsessed men? Those types that will go out of their way, stressing you all in the name of wife-material test? He will require freshly made food every day and then give gluttony a fancy name saying “I’m a foodie”
-how about the dependent Lagos man that wants to suck you dry by always borrowing from you to sponsor his big Lagos lifestyle?
Wait, you haven’t met the ones I initially mentioned?
-okay, how about the adventurous-spirited Lagos guy that wants you guys to try all the sex positions in this world, even the one that will break your leg?
Oh, you haven’t met any? If you haven’t met these kinds of men,  the narrator of Damilare’s short story ‘International Relations’ has met them all and even more! She is tired of Lagos men and has decided to find herself an ‘Oyibo man’.

Damilare’s fourth story ‘International Relations ‘ tells a tale of the narrator’s experience with men and her quest to find an ‘oyibo’ boyfriend. The story is generally about the characteristics peculiar to Lagos men, especially the negative features, which made the narrator tired of them.

The author employs a first-person narration as the narrator is the main character of the story and the story is her personal experience.

The diction is easily comprehensive and the author at some point in the novel used a less formal language; employed Pidgin English, Yoruba, and Ghanaian expressions such as ‘Chale’. The author also tried to portray a distinction between an English native speaker and a learner as seen in the speech of the Ukrainian and German Contractor.

The story is preferably interesting and filled with anticipation as we expect to see the narrator find an ‘oyibo’ boyfriend and what happens next after finding one.

I will give this story 4 out of 5 stars.

Plot Summary

Damilare Kuku’s Nearly All Men in Lagos are Mad: ‘International Relations ‘

‘International Relation’ begins with Shike’s complaints of being tired of Lagos men. The narrator explains her being tired of Lagos men as she informs the reader of the different kinds of men in Lagos that leaves her drained. Each relationship begets a peculiar issue and it all ends after she realizes she can’t keep up with them. She is tired of Lagos men and an oyibo( foreigner especially from European countries) boyfriend seems to be the solution.

As the story proceeds she sets out to find an oyibo boyfriend. Her friends help her out in finding strategic places and time aimed at feigning a coincidental meeting with an oyibo man. The first few weeks of her search seemed futile but she kept on searching. The first man she manages to meet seemed to have already been colonized into being a Lagosian, as he was very fluent in Yoruba and Pidgin. Shike is quite displeased by this and sets out to find an oyibo who isn’t immersed in the Lagos environment.

On another occasion, she meets a German contractor named Uwe. This encounter however ended in embarrassment, as the man’s wife showed up and Mr. Uwe ran after his wife, embarrassing Shike in public.

At last, she meets a Ukrainian man named  Apostol during a business contract and they soon start dating. Things seemed to be all fine with Shike and Apostol as Shike was content with him and their relationship sailed smoothly until Kwesi’s visit.

Kwesi soon shows up. He is a friend to Shike from College back at the University of Dundee. Kwesi visits Shike to inform her of his divorce and he informs her of his desire to be close to her. Shike rejects this proposal since she is in a relationship with Apostol. However, Apostol who came visiting overhears Kwesi confessing love to Shike, he overreacts and shows unnecessary range even after getting reassurance from Shike. Shike is shocked at his surprising behavior and sends both Apostol and Kwesi out of her house. The story ends with Shike still tired of Lagos men.

Characters in Damilare Kuku’s Nearly All Men in Lagos are Mad: ‘International Relations ‘

Shike

Shike is the narrator and main character of the short narrative. She is an orphan who lost her mom at the age of two and her dad at the age of ten. She was born in London but raised in Lagos by her grandmother. She is an independent and resourceful woman. Shike has been indifferent relationships with Lagos men and she soon grows tired of them and goes for an ‘oyibo’ man. Her search for an oyibo boyfriend lasted for a while till she found Apostol, a Ukrainian man,  who she later dated. Her old-time friend Kwesi visits her and causes an issue between her and Apostol. Shike sees a different side of Apostol and wonders if Lagos possesses men or if something is wrong with her. She breaks up with Apostol and the story ends with her initial stance; still tired of Lagos men.

Kwesi

He is a Ghanian and a friend to Shike. He met Shike at the University of Dundee, where he took care of Shike when she lost her parents, treated her like family but ended up getting friends -zoned by Shike, perhaps due to the many girls that flocked around him.
Kwesi visits Nigeria after a long time to inform Shike of his intended divorce from his wife. He asks to be close to Shike but is turned down. Kwesi soon confesses his love to Shike, unfortunately, Apostol comes in and is enraged by this development. Shike sends him out of his house, and soon Kwesi returns to Ghana and reunites with his wife. Kwesi’s character is quite confusing as we are unsure of his reason for leaving after destroying Shike’s relationship with Apostol.

Apostol(Mr. Zherdev)

He is a Ukrainian who Shike mistook for a Russian. He is in his 50’s and runs a big company in Ikoyi, Lagos. He is Shike’s client and soon becomes her boyfriend. He is described as honest, caring, and financially comfortable. At the end of the story, Shike breaks up with him, turns out he is also one of those non-Lagosians possessed by the Lagos-men spirit.

Other Characters include:
Uwe – the German Engineer
Iya Agba – Shike’s grandmother
Olujimi – Shike’s ex
Susan – Shike’s friend
Andrew – Shike’s ex who wanted to try all the sex positions in the sex catalog.

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