Tail of the blue bird by Nii Ayikwei Parkes


Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a Ghanaian writer ,social commentator ,he was BBC radio threes writer in residence in 2005 ,he has his own web page which is full of piece of his work and spoken word performances .

Tail of the blue bird is part crime ,part social commentary ,this is a true one-off mixing the best of African fiction with crime fiction for a heady mix .the Novel centres on a rural village Sonokrom in the middle of nowhere in Ghana ,this is a place were the traditional values and customs still rule over the people of the villages .But a discovery leads to an  investigation by two outsiders from the more modern world of Accra the capital ,Kayo one of these outsiders has just returned from the UK and is a crime scene investigations ,with a scientific mind that is the complete opposite to the villagers ,the pair struggle with the case .

So we have a case in a village near Tafo that we need your help with .It is not even a case we would have bothered with, but the minister for roads and highways is sleeping with a girl from Tafo .She discovered some human matter and the minister himself called me that day to deploy some men .

As we find out the case was a favour to a minister .The man’s struggle with events that at times see unnatural almost supernatural ,flocks of birds, ghost boys ,Also the reluctant villagers add to the struggle .

The writing is wonderful Parkes manages to pull you into the men as they head to this village ,he evokes the spirit of African villages as they struggle with the old way of life and the ever-increasing modern world as mobile phones computers , western ways  creep in from the capital Accra ,but even earlier in the book we discover that Kayo struggles on his return to the capital from the UK ,as the local police don’t initially seem to keen on his CSI skills ,but later accept him and his ultra modern ideas ,even thou Kayo at times struggles with the mystery’s of Ghana’s hinterlands .

I read this for KINNA READS  GHANA WEEK ,ps sorry its late and single vol Kinna ,I would go and check her blog as she has reviewed some great African fiction in the last year .


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Iris
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 17:14:59

    I’m glad to see you posting again Stu 🙂 It seems Ghanaian fiction is often also crime fiction, or at least a few of the books mentioned this week are, and I am not that good with crime fiction. But it sounds lovely otherwise.


  2. Eva
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 21:51:34

    I already put in an ILL request for this earlier this week (I’m not sure where I first heard about it, but Kinna’s Ghana Week reminded me), so I’m glad to hear such a good review!


  3. amymckie
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 23:43:14

    So glad you were able to participate in Ghanaian Literature Week Stu!! And you are right – so many great books being talked about. This being one of them that I want to read now! Thank you for the review, it sounds interesting.


  4. savidgereads
    Nov 21, 2010 @ 11:21:22

    Oooh I got sent this some time ago and am going to have to have a gander through my ‘possible charity book’ piles to see if I still have it as I now really, really want to read it. I’ll be annoyed with myself if I have given it away!

    I have just gone and checked and HOORAH I do still have a copy so that is going back on the TBR, cheers Mr.


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  7. Kinna
    Nov 21, 2010 @ 23:21:17

    Stu, thanks for participating. Don’t apologize. One volume is perfectly fine. I also loved this when I read it. Parkes is also a poet, he has published two collections I think.


  8. Nana Fredua-Agyeman
    Nov 22, 2010 @ 09:33:21

    Thanks for participating in the Ghanaian Literary Week.


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November 2010


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