Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Soulful Return by Fidelis O Mkparu is a beautiful tale about change, death, life, renewal, and identity. Doctor Afamefuna Onochie Nwaku is a Nigerian-born, Harvard-trained medical doctor whose thriving medical practice is disrupted by a phone call from his sister in Nigeria. Adaku implores him to come home because her life is being threatened by those who are trying to take away their land. It has been twenty-five years since Afamefuna went home, as he has been busy making their humble family name known in medical research. He returns to his home country like a stranger in a strange land, as Adaku points out that he is no longer familiar with their native culture. He also finds that the corruption plaguing Nigeria is one disease that will be difficult to cure. But he will also experience an epiphany that he and his sister are equals in every aspect of their lives, and that is the way it is supposed to be.
Soulful Return is a simple story and yet it sings. It will largely remind you of the works of esteemed African writers like Chinua Achebe and Naguib Mahfouz. It has a powerful theme of identity, which is lost and rekindled within Afamefuna. The societal evils are another conflict to be reckoned with as Fidelis O Mkparu prepares you for a culture shock with his vivid descriptions of local color and the corruption that hounds it. Mkparu writes in English, but his use of Nigerian slang makes his narrative authentic. Moreover, he manages to weave different conflicts into the story that allows for its resolution to bridge the two cultures that the protagonist inhabits. Underlying everything, it seems to say that it is important to look back when you are at the pinnacle of your success because your past always has a way of taking you back to where you began. This is a powerful literary tale rich in reflection that everyone should take time to read and absorb.