A dazzling memoir of an African childhood from Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian novelist, playwright, and poet Wole Soyinka.
Aké: The Years of Childhood gives us the story of Soyinka’s boyhood before and during World War II in a Yoruba village in western Nigeria called Aké. A relentlessly curious child who loved books and getting into trouble, Soyinka grew up on a parsonage compound, raised by Christian parents and by a grandfather who introduced him to Yoruba spiritual traditions. His vivid evocation of the colorful sights, sounds, and aromas of the world that shaped him is both lyrically beautiful and laced with humor and the sheer delight of a child’s-eye view. A classic of African autobiography, Aké is also a transcendantly timeless portrait of the mysteries of childhood.
“A brilliant imagist who uses poetry and drama to convey his inquisitiveness, frustration, and sense of wonder.” —Newsweek
Brilliant. . . . Transcendant. . . . It locates the lost child in all of us, underneath language, inside sound and smell, wide-eyed, brave and flummoxed. . . . Soyinka belongs in the company of . . . V. S. Naipaul, V. S. Pritchett, and Vladimir Nabokov.” —The New York Times
“A delightful memoir.” —The Atlantic
“Unquestionably Africa’s most versatile writer and arguably her finest. . . . Ake is a classic of African autobiography, indeed a classic of childhood memoirs wherever and whenever produced.” —The New York Times Book Review