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Measuring Time

– tekijä: Helon Habila

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1453143,814 (3.86)39
Mamo and LaMamo are twin brothers living in the small Nigerian village of Keti, where their domineering father controls their lives. With high hopes the twins attempt to flee from home, but only LaMamo escapes successfully and is able to live their dream of becoming a soldier who meets beautiful women. Mamo, the sickly, awkward twin, is doomed to remain in the village with his father. Gradually he comes out of his father's shadow and gains local fame as a historian, and, using Plutarch's Parallel Lives as his model, he embarks on the ambitious project of writing a "true" history of his people. But when the rains fail and famine rages, religious zealots incite the people to violence--and LaMamo returns to fight the enemy at home.A novel of ardent loyalty, encroaching modernity, political desire, and personal liberation, Measuring Time is a heart-wrenching history of Nigeria, portrayed through the eyes of a single family.… (lisätietoja)
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näyttää 3/3
Measuring Time tells the story of twin brothers Mamo and LaMamo from the town of Keti in Nigeria. The story begins as the boys are school aged and they have resolved to "make life hard for their father" because he broke their mother's heart before she died in childbirth. Lamang, their father, pays them little attention. The boys spend their days coming up with ways to achieve fame and immortality.

Mamo, the older twin, is the narrator. His sickle cell anemia forces him to stay behind when LaMamo and their cousin Asabar run away to join the war. Although he comments on his father's, auntie's, and uncle's lives along with the lives of other villagers, he spends much of his life laying around reading and feeling sorry for himself until his Uncle Iliya offers him a job teaching history at the community school. Mamo is good at it and teaches some of the English classes as well. When the school is shut down due to politics, Mamo returns to his former pattern of waiting for something, anything, to happen and measuring time "in the shadows cast by trees and walls, in silence between one footfall and the next, between one breath and the next, in the seconds, minutes and hours and days and weeks and months that add up to form seasons." (p. 139)

Mamo's research and writing weaves in some history of the village and stories of government corruption. Mamo gets entangled with the government when he takes a job as the scribe/personal historian to write a biography of the Mai (a chief over all the chiefs of the individual villages).

A passage near the end of the book describes Mamo perfectly as "someone who lives mostly in the imagination...In the imagination things are more manageable, we can think up a million solutions in our minds - without fear of loss of dignity, or having to lower our aims. But in real life these things almost crush us, and we realize how like everyone else we really are - there is nothing really special about us. We must lower our expectations, learn humility like everyone else, and move on from there." (p. 356)

I want to say more, but I don't want to give away too much. ( )
2 ääni bohemiangirl35 | Apr 3, 2011 |
This is a story of fraternal twin brothers Mamo and LaMamo, who are close friends growing up in the small Nigerian village of Keti. Although both crave escape, success and fame, Mamo, who suffers from sickle-cell anemia, is forced to seek his fortune at home, whereas his brother LaMamo becomes a mercenary soldier traveling war-torn Africa. Mamo is clearly the primary character, but his true nature is difficult to understand, as he generally stands by doing and saying nothing. When he does act, it is often in negative or weak-willed ways that do not inspire the sympathy or admiration of the reader. The book is competently written, and includes many interesting details about the people of West Africa, their history and culture, however the plot often seems to wander aimlessly, as does Mamo himself. ( )
1 ääni kambrogi | Sep 9, 2008 |
There is so much in this book, I'm not sure I will do it justice of any kind. It is a beautifully written book that mixes the modern novel form with traditional storytelling, its narrative is rather melancholy. Set in the 1960s through the 1990s, it is the story of twin boys: Lamamo, who is strong and athletic, and Mamo who is sickly and studious. It is Mamo's point of view which eventually dominates. In it's telling the story of the twins; who are, by the way, aware that once they would have been seen as a bad omen and left in the jungle to die; the novel tells of Nigeria, even all of Africa.

Without giving too much away, the boys, so close growing up, go their separate ways as teens. Mamo, who suffers from sickle cell anemia, turns to study and becomes first a teacher, then a writer, and secretary to a local ruler. His writing career begins when, on request of a professor he had submitted a piece for a journal to, he is asked to write his own opinion of what good history writing is.

"...as far as he was concerned a true history is one that looks at the lives of individuals, ordinary people who toil and dream and suffer, who bear the brunt of whatever vicissitude time inflicts on the nation." p. 180

This is exactly what this novel does. ( )
6 ääni avaland | Jul 24, 2008 |
näyttää 3/3
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Alkuteoksen nimi
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Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
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We are all prompted by the same motives, all deceived by the same fallacies, all animated by hope, obstructed by danger, entangled by desire, and seduced by pleasure.

SAMUEL JOHNSON
The Rambler

It is so hard to find out the truth of anyting by looking at the record of the past. The process of time obscures the truth of former times, and even contemporaneous writers disguise and twist the truth out of malice or flattery.

PLUTARCH
Parallel Lives
Omistuskirjoitus
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For Adam, Edna, and Susan
Ensimmäiset sanat
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They had decided a long time ago to make life hard for their father.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

Mamo and LaMamo are twin brothers living in the small Nigerian village of Keti, where their domineering father controls their lives. With high hopes the twins attempt to flee from home, but only LaMamo escapes successfully and is able to live their dream of becoming a soldier who meets beautiful women. Mamo, the sickly, awkward twin, is doomed to remain in the village with his father. Gradually he comes out of his father's shadow and gains local fame as a historian, and, using Plutarch's Parallel Lives as his model, he embarks on the ambitious project of writing a "true" history of his people. But when the rains fail and famine rages, religious zealots incite the people to violence--and LaMamo returns to fight the enemy at home.A novel of ardent loyalty, encroaching modernity, political desire, and personal liberation, Measuring Time is a heart-wrenching history of Nigeria, portrayed through the eyes of a single family.

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