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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Smile Awhile

Ogali Ogali

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To purchase Smile Awhile

Title: Smile Awhile
Author: Ogali A. Ogali
Genre: Novel
Written: 1957
Length: 20 pages
Availability: in: Veronica My Daughter
in: Veronica My Daughter - UK
  • Smile Awhile is included in the collection Veronica My Daughter and Other Onitsha Plays and Stories (see our review)

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Our Assessment:

B : clever and fairly amusing tales

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Smile Awhile is a "novel" recounting the (mis)adventures of a character named Abanidiegwu. In fact, there is no continuous narrative here, rather just brief episodes -- anecdotes, really -- from this comic rogue's life. Nineteen brief scenes, making good fun especially of the hapless but quite ambitious rogue as well as the society he lives.
       Ogali wittily contrasts the clash of new and traditional worlds. There is a great deal of exaggeration, but Ogali uses it to good effect, and generally with a warm touch. When Abanidiegwu becomes a teacher at a village school and lights up a cigarette his students can't explain the smoke coming from his mouth and think he is on fire (and considerately then douse him with fifty buckets of water). When Abanidiegwu tries to put on a tie the villagers, thinking he is trying to hang himself, come and cut it off, admonishing him "never to attempt such an atrocious act any longer". Cars, trains, and trousers are also mysteries, and also used to comic effect.
       There are also some straightforward roguish exploits -- a clever garden theft, and the essentially illiterate Abanidiegwu getting himself appointed Headmaster (as well as "Principal, Class teacher, Pastor, Catechist and School Clerk") in an "interior and backward town".
       It is a loose collection of stories, but most are fairly entertaining and, though exaggerated, quite amusing.

       NOTE that the character Abanidiegwu also appears in Long Long Ago (see our review)

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Onitsha market literature: Other books by Ogali A. Ogali under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Nigerian author Ogali A. Ogali was born in 1935 and was a leading author of the pamphlet literature sold at Onitsha market.

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