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Prince of Monkeys(Book Review)-a provocative debut.


Prince of Monkeys is a coming of age narrative that tells t anyhe Nigerian story in its natural blemished fashion. Ehirim’s debut is a book showing all shades of what Nigerian is in the 80’s and 90’s. It tells the story like Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus.

Nnamdi Ehirim made a provocative coming of age story in Prince of Monkeys. Set during the heydays of the Nigerian military regime. We see how the companionship and clique of childhood could make or perhaps even mar us when power beckons. As his debut, Nnamdi conveniently talks about sex, religion, politics not only in a colourful way but even flawlessly.

An African young adult novel that boldly tells the African growing up experience. Ihechi has always known he wants more out of life than what his father brazenly requires of him. As he befriends Mendaus, the once quiet but now passionate Messiah; Maradona, thé bastard turn armed robber; Enoch, the Pastor’s son. We see they leave various shades of their beliefs, faults and attitude with him. But of the most influence are the women in his life, his sweetheart Zeerat, whose death spun him to become more of who he wants to be. Or even his mother who initiates him to traditional religion and when the going gets tough in Lagos, he is sent to Enugu.

Everyone of the character has a depth you can believe almost as if they are someone you know. And it is in there naming, Nnamdi wove different tales, like Ephesians who becomes an Ogun Worshipper or Mendaus, who becomes a political celebrity. The Prince of Monkeys show us a desire by young adult to be regarded in an higher form not merely leaders of tomorrow who would miracously solve all the problems of Nigeria. But as people who want to look at friends without seeing any shadow aspect to their personalities, without any likes or dislikes, without any catalysts or inhibitions to accepting them despite their religion, sexuality, or even morality.

Reading this book to the end, only makes you to realize how you might have to sacrifice your religion, belief system, virginity and even fears just to be someone that is regarded with power. Ehirim’s writing style is a chasmic prosaic form where the cutting of a part leads to the distortion of the meaning. When he talks about death, it seems, he describes a cunning Mafia ‘During my life, I’d heard very little of death: He had moved around me often enough, but in quiet and subtle motions, so I never really knew till he was gone. This time he had stared me in the face, spared my life, and killed me in another way—and, as he had always done, left it to others to testify of his exploits.’

The choice of the first person point of view gives us intimacy. A calculated way to bring up our sympathy for Ihechi, now a grown man who has been appointed by Major-Genaral, Alhaji and other powers that be to be a Presidential aspirant. But as he is taking the last step to become a King, a power-broker, an elite, he encounters his childhood friends. ONCE AGAIN, Nnamdi has told a beautiful tale.


Nnamdi Ehirim is a twenty–six–year–old Nigerian writer based in Lagos and Madrid. His writing has appeared in Afreada, Brittle Paper, Catapult, The Kalahari Review, and The Republic. He cofounded a clean–energy start–up in Nigeria and is currently pursuing an MBA focused on entrepreneurship in the renewable energy sector.


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