By Ann Esievoadje
Publisher: Pulchra Publishing, 2019
Troubled Horizon is a fictional collection of short stories written by Ann Esievoadje, the author of The Quilt. As the title suggests, it is a book that highlights through storytelling, the travails of human beings. The uncertainties of life are put to paper by the author. In life, you only know where you are or what you have but not the next moment. As long as human beings exist on the surface of the earth, the horizon will continue to be troubled.
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Troubled Horizon is a book that relatably exposes, through ‘simple’ narration, the typical troubles of man and his environment. Though a fictional collection of short stories, it gets as real as possible for the reader. It presents an opportunity for the reader to see his society in its realistic form.
Whether intentionally or not, Ann guides the reader, in all the stories in this book, through the eyes of a woman. The reader is taken to each stop with direction from a woman’s perspective.
In ‘Troubled Horizon’, the reader follows the journey of a female passenger who is made constantly uncomfortable by a garrulous and prying male passenger. The emotions and tension are built over the course of the journey. This story is an archetype of the proverbial saying, ‘from the frying pan to fire.’ The female passenger, already nursing the grudge of sitting next to an annoying co-passenger, comes face to face with armed robbers. In an attempt to escape, she passes out in an accident. Like I did suggest above, you only know where you are and not the next.
It is a common belief that the world is an unfavourable place for a woman. A woman is more likely to be at the negative receiving end in any situation than a man. She is captured and the first thought of one of the robbers was to rape her. Had the gang leader not intervened, he would have had his way.
In this first story, Ann also tries to point out the unique gift of survival given to man by God. He tries to make something out of a ‘nothing’ situation. With the trajectory of the plot, the reader already tries to read the authors mind but is soon disappointed by the resilience of the character who by the help of the author, twists the plot. Troubled Horizon is relatable because its plot is commonplace among highway travellers.
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‘Watch Night’ is a tale of the strength and resolve of a young girl who is able to hold it down in the absence of her father and after the death of her mother. Ese is a seventeen years old girl who tries to navigate the hurdles of life as her light, in the dark, continues to go dim. She is nearly an adult and very inexperienced, however, as they say, ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel.’
You know how you always want something and finally see an opening on having that thing only to find that at the very verge, the opening starts to close right before your face with you being so helpless. This is the situation of the character in ‘Don’t Go.’ At the very point of having her baby whom she has already named before birthing, she loses the child. This story is very much relatable to women who have either experienced a miscarriage or still-birth. The experience according to those who have gone through this is unforgettable. The character finds it difficult to wrap her head around what has just happened to her. She blames her husband for his absence and tries to navigate post the event which proved very difficult. However, as always, life must go on. One must draw strength from a source, which she does. She draws strength from within.
‘Little Bobby’ is a story about innocence and an unintended consequence. In this story, a mother is thrown into a frenzy with the life of her last child slipping away from a clasp. One child, unknowingly the culprit, the other edging closer to the border between two realms. This also depicts the intricacies of motherhood.
The last story in this collection is the most relatable of them all. The events depicted inherently is typical in our society. A young girl, possibly inundated with societal and parental pressures, decides to let go of her child. This is a situation of what is termed ‘unwanted pregnancy’. However, this is also the story of another young girl who is endowed with the ‘Faustian spirit.’ Her mind is a darting machine, wanting to know against all odds. After discovering the infant in the waste bin, she tasks herself to find the mother of the child.
Troubled horizon exposes the vulnerability and the importance of the female folk. It is an experiential collection of human lives; the human struggles, survival instincts, humanity, and inhumanity. It is round the clock description of the uniqueness of human beings. Most importantly, it touches the human side of the reader.
This is enjoyable and a must-read book because every story puts you at the edge of a cliff with a creatively crafted suspense. The first opening of the book means the reader would not drop this piece until he has finished consuming the artistic gift put in letters by Ann. She did a good job in appealing to the senses of the reader. The reader is not forced to imagine as the reader is familiar with every imaginative picture painted in the book. it comes to him naturally.
Featured Image Source: Roving Heights Books
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