The British Empire Library

Tales of Nigeria

by Clementina Owles

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by A.H.M. Kirk-Greene (Nigeria 1950-66, lecturer in Modern History of Africa, Oxford University)
Those of us who have enjoyed the apparent vogue of Tales Of... memoirs which has characterized much of the retrospective writing on Empire and the Colonial Service during the past decade (Charles Allen’s trilogy, narratives by Derek Hopwood, June Knox-Mawer and Ronnie Knox-Mawer, for starters) must be aware of what they are getting - or rather, what they are not getting - at abargain price. Clementina Owles is a talented, lively writer, who writes observantly and enjoyably about places she has lived in: Growing Up Yesterday, about pre-war Italy; Salad Days in Baghdad, about her post-war years in the Middle East; and now a dozen short stories (I prefer to call them vignettes) about her time in post-colonial Nigeria. Good leisure-reading, it is the kind of writing that may cause many of our readers to exclaim: “But I did or saw or could have told that!” Probably true, as far as experience goes; but Clementina Owles’ art in communicating and conjuring up is not a gift that I for one find comes as readily as rich memory alone. This is a great ‘Nigerian’ stocking-filler for Xmas!
British Empire Book
Clementina Owles
Regency Press


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