AN ENCOUNTER WITH LILIAN ODACHI ONUH

Getting used to reading works that are largely literary works – and by this, I speak of the traditional Nigerian stock, it becomes a bit refreshing to find something different. Odachi’s novel, Encounter is a religious novel that is centred on Paulina Onah, an eighteen year old high school (secondary school) graduate. The tale starts with Paulina (also Poli) returning home after graduation from high school with her parents to a new house. She at once feels a certain strangeness in the air. She informs her parents who shrug her concerns away. On her first night, her strange feelings and indeed, fears are confirmed as she is attacked by spirits physically. She gets rid of them through prayers. She tells her brother, Dan and parents who all disbelieve her. Dan later believes and they enjoin the help of their Pastor, Nick who helps them. Somewhere, Paulina’s best friend, Ela joins in the fight. The spirits get to deal with Paulina and her pals whenever they let their guard down by not praying and all. Meanwhile, there is a clause that the spirits would only go when everyone in the house believe and pray against them. This seems impossible with Mr and Mrs. Onah fully blinded by disbelief. So many events occur that are narrated in very beautiful poetic lines that would leave any reader wowed. People are injured and hurt… Who gets hurt? How many casualties…? What happens in the end? Well, you would have to read the book to find out.
The weakness of this novel lies in a few typos that are not unusual with several self-published books. There is also an inconsistency in the narrative names of characters that sees Paulina also get to be seen as Poli and Paullina at various points; even the Onah family gets to be called the David family. There are some structural and tense errors too that could have easily been avoided. Still, with some good editing, most of these weaknesses would be surmounted without any recourse to prayers and binding of these obvious evils! Some people might also not be too impressed with the largely Christian tone that is very present. There are also some characters and scenes that one might think that the book might have been better without.
With talks of a re-issuance of the novel, there is every hope that the errors would be catered to giving readers a chance to enjoy a tale that is really worth it. There is also a hope that a few things would be reworked to perhaps give the tale a twist that would get readers in some deeper suspense and create more horror!
But talking of its worth, one discovers that despite the deep religious tones that are not hidden, Odachi is able to tell an entertaining tale. She is also able to hold her readers in suspense while at the same time giving some chills – especially if you read it at night like I did! Odachi preaches and is arguably able to convince through her story on the need of prayers. Indeed, this seems a worthy addition to the religious literary fiction existing.
Is it any wonder then that some schools such as the NKST University of Mkar, Mkar, Gboko (where the author is a final year undergraduate of Sociology) picked it as a text of study for their GST classes?
Lilian Odachi Onuh proves herself to be a writer of promise in this debut (self) publication. Still, there is a lot more to her and one can hardly wait to see what she has next. After this meeting with her in prose as well as listening to her poetry, we sure, can’t wait for our next Encounter!!

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One thought on “AN ENCOUNTER WITH LILIAN ODACHI ONUH

  1. This makes sense Suur, so how many more writers can we get that are inthat fashion..yes we should also learn to use editors

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