Eshu: The Yoruba God of Mischief: Background information when reading Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth

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Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth

A Novel

by Wole Soyinka

Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth by Wole Soyinka X
Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth by Wole Soyinka
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2021, 464 pages

    Aug 2, 2022, 464 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Grace Graham-Taylor
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About this Book

Eshu: The Yoruba God of Mischief

This article relates to Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth

Wood sculpture of kneeling figure (Eshu-Elegba), Brooklyn Museum Eshu (also spelled Esu, and also known as Elegba) is a powerful deity in the Ifa religion of the Yoruba people of Western Africa. He is an orisha, a figure that can be a representation of human or divine characteristics or concepts, as well as aspects of nature, such as rivers. A primordial orisha, Eshu represents mischief. However, he is also a mediator and a force for change and growth. In Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, Wole Soyinka refers to Eshu as "the lord of the crossroads," a place with which he is often associated. Crossroads are places of uncertainty and possibilities, which is in keeping with Eshu's multifaceted nature.

Eshu is considered a kind of messenger between gods and men. According to one legend, he is responsible for giving the Yoruba people the art of divination, by tricking the chief god Ifa into giving away his secrets. Eshu is cunning, rebellious and defiant towards authority. Although he is not malevolent, he is known to enjoy...

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