We Have Come Home

Title of Book: We Have Come Home
Name of Author: Damilola Olaniyi
Genre: Fiction (Short Stories)
Publisher: InkyRepertoire
ISBN: 978-978-795-295-5
Publication Date: 2020
Book Reviewer: Salamatu Sule

We have Come Home is a collection of 19 short stories written by Damilola Olaniyi. The collection projects the everyday life of ordinary people and the extra ordinary things and events around them.
The nothingness and insignificance of a happily never after and the burning desires or cravings that are just on the surface idealistic is what this collection is all about.
The collection, which have an eponymous title: We Have Come Home, talks about the problem of inter marriages and how religion can be such a huge barrier for young people to fall in love and take marital vows. Damilola shows how religion and faith alone can wreck relationships and further bring about disharmony in a home.
“They said he was Catholic and by his admission, he didn’t take religion seriously. I mean, we dated for over three years and that was no big deal to them. We had even started talking about our wedding. Try as I may, they remained adamant and Bert would not marry me without my parent’s blessings. He was traditional that way. I moved out of the house shortly before my immediate younger sister, Lara, got married. It has been over two years now and no one else appeals to me.” (Pg 5, We Have Come Home)
A collage of the different perspectives about failed relationships is reechoed in A Sneak Peek as Damilola shows to the reader through the lives of the ladies as they lament of the state of their lives and how it will never be the same again.
“Tolani had lived with her aunt in Knots Ville, London and had stayed with her for five years during which she had acquired a degree in Journalism. Her aunt’s husband had been so nice at first, but later on, he would try to force himself on her whenever she was alone in the house with him”(pg 10, We Have Come Home).

“Tife had been living with her father’s cousin, whose wife had made things so unbearable that she was not even allowed to eat in their house”. (Pg 11, We Have Come Home)

The collection calls our attention to the negative effect of unhealthy relationships on the human personality as it leads to broken homes, self-doubt and worth as well as social isolation of a person. Olanini draws a parallel between what it means to have it all and not to have at all and to die in the hands of poverty while you go uptown seeking for refuge, you are likely to become a refugee under the darkling sky.
At what point can we truly say that we have indeed come home? Is it when we go to other people’s homes and cause discomfort when we know we shouldn’t overstay our welcome just like in the story, “Aunty Stella” or is it when we have to go into toxic with the owners of the homes we are unsettling?
Damilola’s collection are rather didactic as it tells us, that they are consequences for our everyday act and actions.

In all of the 19 stories, we see ourselves and that of the people we may have come across in it. The lessons are even echoed and reechoed through the thematic preoccupation of the world of the characters in the book. The theme of mental depression, anxiety is fast turning the world upside down if we fail to address it. Nearly everything speaks to loss and poverty.
I honestly enjoyed my read of this collection and have also taken note of my observations.
The author may consider developing some of the stories into a full length novel or may decide to divide the stories into two parts as 19 stories are rather much for a collection.
Finally, this collection can be accessed via Amazon and Okada Books.

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