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I Am Still With You: Book summary and reviews of I Am Still With You by Emmanuel Iduma

I Am Still With You

A Reckoning with Silence, Inheritance, and History

by Emmanuel Iduma

I Am Still With You by Emmanuel Iduma X
I Am Still With You by Emmanuel Iduma
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  • Published Feb 2023
    240 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

A deeply moving, lyrical journey through the author's homeland of Nigeria, in search of the truth about his disappeared uncle and the history of a war that shaped him, his family, and a nation

In inimitable, rhythmic prose, the author and winner of the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize Emmanuel Iduma tells the story of his return to Nigeria, where he grew up, after years of living in New York. He traveled home with an elusive mission: to learn the fate of his uncle Emmanuel, his namesake, who disappeared in the Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s. A conflict that left so many families broken, the war remains at the margins of the history books, almost taboo to discuss. To find answers, Iduma stopped in city after city throughout the former Biafra region, reconnecting with relatives dear and distant to probe their memories, prowling university libraries to furtively photocopy illicit books, and visiting half-abandoned monuments along the highway. Perhaps, he realized, if he could understand how his father grieved the loss of a brother in the war, he might learn how to grieve his late father in turn.

His is also the story of countless families across the country and across the world who will never have answers or proper funerals for their loved ones. It's a story about the birth of an artist, about writing itself as an act both healing and political, even dangerous. And it's a story about family history and legacy, and all the questions the dead leave unanswered. How much of the author's identity is wrapped up in this inheritance? And what does it mean to return home, when the people who define it are gone?

Equal parts memoir, national history, and political reckoning, I Am Still With You is a profoundly personal story of collective loss and making peace with the unknowable.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A poignant story rescued from…silences and lacunae. A powerful contribution to modern Nigerian history, particularly significant in an age of ethnic conflict around the world." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Searching war-scarred Biafra for traces of his uncle, a writer grapples with gaps in his family's history and his own bifurcated identity… [Iduma's] contemplative, poetic search brings him closer to his wife Ayobami and reminds him that his life remains inseparable from the history of his homeland." - Booklist

"An immersive memoir… throughout, Iduma reflects on the power of family to both unite and divide…Iduma's unravelling of the past is bound to leave readers eager to uncover their own family secrets." - Publishers Weekly

"[A] haunting new memoir… Those interested in personal stories about Nigeria will likely enjoy this book." - Library Journal

"A precious and lucid account on an event which is still insufficiently covered in the African media." - The African Book Review

"To the daughter of a Nigerian man, long gone, this book shines a light through the silent fog that shrouded our past. It is a gift of understanding, for me and countless others." - Rachel Edwards, author of Darling

"A genre-defying work, I Am Still with You is a quest, both spiritual and real, a travelogue, a memoir, and a history of Biafra. It is a requiem to war's unburied and unsung. It is a record of a writer's mind grappling with the consequences of a national and personal loss. Acutely observed, hauntingly rendered, and deeply affecting—a masterful achievement." - Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness and The Window Seat

This information about I Am Still With You was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Emmanuel Iduma

Emmanuel Iduma, born in 1989, is a writer who trained as a lawyer in Nigeria. He is the author of the travelogue A Stranger's Pose (Cassava Republic Press, 2018), which was longlisted for 2019 Ondaatje Prize. He has written for Granta, n+1, the New York Review of Books, BOMB, Brooklyn Rail, Aperture, Guernica, and others, and received many grants and awards, including the Windham-Campbell Prize. Iduma has an MFA in Art Writing from the School of Visual Arts, New York City and taught there for several years before moving to Lagos, Nigeria.

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