By Timi Spiff
Timi Spiff’s first published work of fiction, Surviving the Storms, published in June this year by The New Gong, would without doubt be rewarding to anyone who has an interest in good literature. The short novel also suits these times when readers who are barraged by numerous media platforms hardly have enough time to devote to voluminous works.
Surviving the Storms is an engaging portrayal of the impetuous Kuro, an adolescent from a lower middle class family in Port Harcourt of the 1970’s. Having spent part of his boyhood in
the war zone, after the end of the civil war Kuro was rather headstrong at both boarding school and home.
Kuro’s passage to manhood, as well as incidences involving those with whom he was interacting, is presented humourously. Expelled from school Kuro returns home one evening to the utter dismay of his parents and at dead night when he is sleeping his father wakes him with severe canning, causing his screams that a neighbour in an adjacent house hears even though his younger brother Reginald sleeping in the same room hears nothing and sleeps soundly till day break.
When Kuro is playing club football in Jos, his bosom friend Abdul who is very enlightened and irrepressible is invited to Kaduna by his father to meet an arranged bride. Abdul decides he is going to reject the arrangement because he is too modern and independent for such atavism, but when he meets the prospective bride her erudition and beauty defeats him and
they marry a few months afterwards.
The racy novel evokes the exuberance of youth and the challenges of parenthood as well as the benefits of good education, giving the reader fresh insight into Nigeria. From the periods Kuro spent in his hometown in the Niger Delter before the civil war and much later as a clerk
in the state civil service the manifestation of the agitation against the degradation of the environment by the oil industry is palpable.
The author is well travelled around Nigeria. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria in 1984 he worked as a journalist for several years, during which he won the Financial Reporter of the Year (1991) Award in the maiden edition of the Diamond Award for Media Excellence. He subsequently joined the leading brewery in Lagos for some years and thereafter he took a job in a federal government agency in Abuja where he spent many years before opting for early retirement.