Dancing in the Dark by Muyiwa Joseph

It is said, “When you know your enemy, you will know how to outwit him.” For most of us, we have been dancing our entire life in the dark. Thinking that everything is just a product of chance.

Dancing in the Dark is a story with several characters with a common link: Lyop and Nimfa Miri, parents to the twins who altered the future: Nanre and Nana. Isaac Ameh: an indie journalist who made the greatest sacrifice twice and helped in the discovery of the mystery. Michael Morgan, a symbolist and an atheist. Becky, the pastor’s daughter living double lives.

The story began in Mambele, a village in Langtang North, where a man sacrificed himself and became the “author of magic”. The aim was to have fertility and prosperity in the land. He gives out a portion of magic to families but at a price. For the Miris, Lyop would not conceive. Nimfa goes all out to see that his wife conceives. Eventually, he succeeds some how. The villagers soon realised that he practised dark magic. The Miris were exiled from the land.

In about a hundred years later, girls in Baruwa hostel in Lateef University will be found in a pool of their blood, between every four to seven days. Commotion sets in and questions asked. The story from a century past may have been the cause. The “author of magic” told Nimfa that his second daughter will die by age 23. In a bid to change the bespoke misfortune, Nimfa and Lyop died, as sacrifice. Their daughters were 12-year-olds at the time. In the quest for something better, Nanre leaves the forest with a promise to return. Nana learns of the dealings of her Dad and attempts to right his wrongs: to save herself from being the sacrifice by 23. She learns to communicate with the “author of magic”. She was offered an “impossible” option: to kill her sister, who got married and is a believer, far from the forest, to replace her. Nana’s sacrifice in appeasement of the “author of magic” are the lives of girls in Baruwa hostel perpetuated by the person of her reincarnation. Nanre’s reincarnate is her grand-daughter who has six fingers on one hand just as Nanre. What was done years ago must be altered. The willingness of a few to solve a problem becomes the only saving Grace.

This book is a beautiful piece of art! It is composed of separate plots; yet not disjointed. The suspense gripped me based on the quest to know what happens next while hoping the story doesn’t end just immediately.

Anyone interested in the discuss of faith in the African context, Nigeria in particular, should try this book.

This is Joseph’s second book. I have read his first, Akudaaya. I consider him as “African Ted Dekker”.

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