Ofodile by Chimamanda Adichie

Commonwealth Lecture 2012. "Connecting Cultures" by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Photo credit: Commonwealth Foundation/Colin Patterson 2012

Just before christmas, The Guardian in its series “christmas ghost stories” has released a wonderful short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, called “Ofodile” – read it here. It is, in short, about an either ever crying or sleeping male child and how his mother deals with him. I would say it is, as usually, an absolutely amazing piece of Adichies writing, however pretty terrifying and also somewhat disturbing. It is also very much open to interpretation, I think. One of the story’s most interesting aspects to me were the weird feelings and the thereby caused scratching of limbs and face that were imposed on anyone entering Ofodiles room – except for his sister in the end. Are these ‘ghosts’ the bad conscience, pouncing on the mother for giving her son sedatives that she declared as vitamins? And: did the father have notice of that?

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