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Our land is red, filled with the blood of its citizens. How long will we continue in silence, waking daily to the massacre of our families? Our Land is Red is the story of Gloria, a young girl with great dreams, living in Northern Nigeria. Focused on getting an education, she becomes a victim of the society she lives in. What became of Gloria's dreams? Were they cut short by the tragedies that befell her? Or did she come out triumphant?
People sometimes mistake short stories for trifling vignettes that are over before they start but they can be just the right length to leave you deep in thought.
Our Land Is Red is one that manages to be both engaging and poignant with Chineye Ochem getting the juxtaposition between the big-picture "horrors of conflict" stuff and the personal, small-scale stuff just right. Gloria is immediately a promising and vibrant young girl with a bright future ahead of her which makes the tragedy of unfolding events incredibly powerful. It's in this way that Ochem reminds us how life can change in the blink of an eye and nothing should be taken for granted.
By the end of the story, we absolutely feel for Gloria, who upon reflection is one of those tragic characters who can't escape her circumstances. There are no answers here, and no saccharine ending but you'll keep looking deeper into this story to find your own meaning whilst reflecting on the heartbreak of an event that sadly happens over and over again.
Written with an acerbic pen and definitely one to read Chineye Ochem has delivered a touching novella and it is strongly recommended.
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