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Ere nee anya do you know what that is Master pointed and Ugwu looked at the metal box studded with dangerous looking knobsNo sah Ugwu saidIt s a radiogram It s new and very good It s not like those old gramophones that you have to wind and wind You have to be very careful around it very careful You must never let water touch itYes sahI m off to play tennis and then I ll go on to the staff club Master picked up a few books from the table I may be back late So get settled and have a restYes sahAfter Ugwu watched Master drive out of the compound he went and stood beside the radiogram and looked at it carefully without touching it Then he walked around the house up and down touching books and curtains and furniture and plates and when it got dark he turned the light on and marveled at how bright the bulb that dangled from the ceiling was how it did not cast long shadows on the wall like the palm oil lamps back home His mother would be preparing the evening meal now pounding akpu in the mortar the pestle grasped tight with both hands Chioke the junior wife would be tending the pot of watery soup balanced on three stones over the fire The children would have come back from the stream and would be taunting and chasing one another under the breadfruit tree Perhaps Anulika would be watching them She was the oldest child in the household now and as they all sat around the fire to eat she would break up the fights when the younger ones struggled over the strips of dried fish in the soup She would wait until all the akpu was eaten and then divide the fish so that each child had a piece and she would keep the biggest for herself as he had always doneUgwu opened the fridge and ate somebread and chicken uickly stuffing the food in his mouth while his heart beat as if he were running then he dug out extra chunks of meat and pulled out the wings He slipped the pieces into his shorts pockets before going to the bedroom He would keep them until his aunty visited and he would ask her to give them to Anulika Perhaps he could ask her to give some to Nnesinachi too That might make Nnesinachi finally notice him He had never been sure exactly how he and Nnesinachi were related but he knew they were from the same umunna and therefore could never marry Yet he wished that his mother would not keep referring to Nnesinachi as his sister saying things like Please take this palm oil down to Mama Nnesinachi and if she is not in leave it with your sisterNnesinachi always spoke to him in a vague voice her eyes unfocused as if his presence made no difference to her either way Sometimes she called him Chiejina the name of his cousin who looked nothing at all like him and when he said It s me she would say Forgive me Ugwu my brother with a distant formality that meant she had no wish to make further conversation But he liked going on errands to her house They were opportunities to find her bent over fanning the firewood or chopping ugu leaves for her mother s soup pot or just sitting outside looking after her younger siblings her wrapper hanging low enough for him to see the tops of her breasts Ever since they started to push out those pointy breasts he had wondered if they would feel mushy soft or hard like the unripe fruit from theube tree He often wished that Anulika wasn t so flat chestedhe wondered what was taking her so long anyway since she and Nnesinachi were about the same ageso that he could feel her breasts Anulika would slap his hand away of course and perhaps even slap his face as well but he would do it uicklysueeze and runand that way he would at least have an idea and know what to expect when he finally touched Nnesinachi s Ce texte fait r f rence une dition puis e ou non disponible de ce titreA gorgeous pitiless account of love violence and betrayal during the Biafran war TimeInstantly enthralling Vivid PowerfulA story whose characters live in a changing wartime atmosphere doing their best to keep that atmosphere at bay The New York TimesIngenious With searching insight compassion and an unexpected yet utterly appropriate touch of wit Adichie has created an extraordinary book Los Angeles TimesBrilliant Adichie entwines love and politics to a degree rarely achieved by novelists That is what great fiction doesit simultaneously devours and ennobles and in its freely acknowledged invention comes to be truer than the facts upon which it is built Elle Ce texte fait r f rence une dition puis e ou non disponible de ce tit.
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Master was a little crazy he had spent too many years reading books overseas talked to himself in his office did not always return greetings and had too much hair Ugwu s aunty said this in a low voice as they walked on the path But he is a good man she added And as long as you work well you will eat well You will even eat meat every day She stopped to spit the saliva left her mouth with a sucking sound and landed on the grassUgwu did not believe that anybody not even this master he was going to live with ate meat every day He did not disagree with his aunty though because he was too choked with expectation too busy imagining his new life away from the village They had been walking for a while now since they got off the lorry at the motor park and the afternoon sun burned the back of his neck But he did not mind He was prepared to walk hoursin even hotter sun He had never seen anything like the streets that appeared after they went past the university gates streets so smooth and tarred that he itched to lay his cheek down on them He would never be able to describe to his sister Anulika how the bungalows here were painted the color of the sky and sat side by side like polite well dressed men how the hedges separating them were trimmed so flat on top that they looked like tables wrapped with leavesHis aunty walked faster her slippers making slap slap sounds that echoed in the silent street Ugwu wondered if she too could feel the coal tar getting hotter underneath through her thin soles They went past a sign ODIM STREET and Ugwu mouthed street as he did whenever he saw an English word that was not too long He smelled something sweet heady as they walked into a compound and was sure it came from the white flowers clustered on the bushes at the entrance The bushes were shaped like slender hills The lawn glistened Butterflies hovered aboveI told Master you will learn everything fast osiso osiso his aunty said Ugwu nodded attentively although she had already told him this many times as often as she told him the story of how his good fortune came about While she was sweeping the corridor in the mathematics department a week ago she heard Master say that he needed a houseboy to do his cleaning and she immediately said she could help speaking before his typist or office messenger could offer to bring someoneI will learn fast Aunty Ugwu said He was staring at the car in the garage a strip of metal ran around its blue body like a necklaceRemember what you will answer whenever he calls you is Yes sah Yes sah Ugwu repeatedThey were standing before the glass door Ugwu held back from reaching out to touch the cement wall to see how different it would feel from the mud walls of his mother s hut that still bore the faint patterns of molding fingers For a brief moment he wished he were back there now in his mother s hut under the dim coolness of the thatch roof or in his aunty s hut the only one in the village with a corrugated iron roofHis aunty tapped on the glass Ugwu could see the white curtains behind the door A voice said in English Yes Come inThey took off their slippers before walking in Ugwu had never seen a room so wide Despite the brown sofas arranged in a semicircle the side tables between them the shelves crammed with books and the center table with a vase of red and white plastic flowers the room still seemed to have too much space Master sat in an armchair wearing a singlet and a pair of shorts He was not sitting upright but slanted a book covering his face as though oblivious that he had just asked people inGood afternoon sah This is the child Ugwu s aunty saidMaster looked up His complexion was very dark like old bark and the hair that covered his chest and legs was a lustrous darker shade He pulled off his glasses The child The houseboy sahOh yes you have brought the houseboyI kpotago ya Master s Igbo felt feathery in Ugwu s ears It was Igbo colored by the sliding sounds of English the Igbo of one who spoke English oftenHe will work hard his aunty said He is a very good boy Just tell him what he should do Thank sah Master grunted in response watching Ugwu and his aunty with a faintly distracted expression as if their presence made it difficult for him to remember something important Ugwu s aunty patted Ugwu s shoulder whispered that he should do well and turned to the door After she left Master put his glasses back on and faced his book relaxing further into a slanting position legs stretched ou.
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T Even when he turned the pages he did so with his eyes on the bookUgwu stood by the door waiting Sunlight streamed in through the windows and from time to time a gentle breeze lifted the curtains The room was silent except for the rustle of Master s page turning Ugwu stood for a while before he began to edge closer and closer to the bookshelf as though to hide in it and then after a while he sank down to the floor cradling his raffia bag between his knees He looked up at the ceiling so high up so piercingly white He closed his eyes and tried to reimagine this spacious room with the alien furniture but he couldn t He opened his eyes overcome by a new wonder and looked around to make sure it was all real To think that he would sit on these sofas polish this slippery smooth floor wash these gauzy curtains Kedu afa giWhat s your name Master asked startling himUgwu stood upWhat s your name Master asked again and sat up straight He filled the armchair his thick hair that stood high on his head his muscled arms his broad shoulders Ugwu had imagined an older man somebody frail and now he felt a sudden fear that he might not please this master who looked so youthfully capable who looked as if he needed nothingUgwu sahUgwu And you ve come from Obukpa From Opi sahYou could be anything from twelve to thirty Master narrowed his eyes Probably thirteen He said thirteen in EnglishYes sahMaster turned back to his book Ugwu stood there Master flipped past some pages and looked up Ngwa go to the kitchen there should be something you can eat in the fridgeYes sahUgwu entered the kitchen cautiously placing one foot slowly after the other When he saw the white thing almost as tall as he was he knew it was the fridge His aunty had told him about it A cold barn she had said that kept food from going bad He opened it and gasped as the cool air rushed into his face Oranges bread beer soft drinks many things in packets and cans were arranged on different levels and and on the topmost a roasted shimmering chicken whole but for a leg Ugwu reached out and touched the chicken The fridge breathed heavily in his ears He touched the chicken again and licked his finger before he yanked the other leg off eating it until he had only the cracked sucked pieces of bones left in his hand Next he broke off some bread a chunk that he would have been excited to share with his siblings if a relative had visited and brought it as a gift He ate uickly before Master could come in and change his mind He had finished eating and was standing by the sink trying to remember what his aunty had told him about opening it to have water gush out like a spring when Master walked in He had put on a print shirt and a pair of trousers His toes which peeked through leather slippers seemed feminine perhaps because they were so clean they belonged to feet that always wore shoesWhat is it Master askedSah Ugwu gestured to the sinkMaster came over and turned the metal tap You should look around the house and put your bag in the first room on the corridor I m going for a walk to clear my head i nugo Yes sah Ugwu watched him leave through the back door He was not tall His walk was brisk energetic and he looked like Ezeagu the man who held the wrestling record in Ugwu s villageUgwu turned off the tap turned it on again then off On and off and on and off until he was laughing at the magic of the running water and the chicken and bread that lay balmy in his stomach He went past the living room and into the corridor There were books piled on the shelves and tables in the three bedrooms on the sink and cabinets in the bathroom stacked from floor to ceiling in the study and in the store old journals were stacked next to crates of Coke and cartons of Premier beer Some of the books were placed face down open as though Master had not yet finished reading them but had hastily gone on to another Ugwu tried to read the titles but most were too long too difficult Non Parametric Methods An African Survey The Great Chain of Being The Norman Impact Upon England He walked on tiptoe from room to room because his feet felt dirty and as he did so he grew increasingly determined to please Master to stay in this house of meat and cool floors He was examining the toilet running his hand over the black plastic seat when he heard Master s voiceWhere are you my good man He said my good man in EnglishUgwu dashed out to the living room Yes sah What s your name again Ugwu sahYes Ugwu Look h.