cover image Season of Crimson Blossoms

Season of Crimson Blossoms

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim. Cassava Republic (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-911115-00-7

Ibrahim’s excellent first novel tells of the unlikely romance between a Muslim widow and a dope-dealing street tough amidst the troubles that each faces. When 55-year-old Binta Zubairu wakes to the smell of cockroaches, she knows that something terrible will happen to her; as the odor has always heralded disaster in the past. Her niece Fa’iza and granddaughter Ummi, who both live with her, are away at school when her home is robbed by a knife-wielding young man. Mysteriously, most of the stolen goods are returned a few days later and Binta’s assailant appears to apologize. When Hassan Babale, known as Reza, returns a third time, the two are overcome by their inexplicable desire and thus begins an illicit romance. Binta must also contend with the arrival of her daughter, Hureira, who has left her husband, and the increasingly erratic behavior of Fa’iza. Reza’s jobs for his senator boss escalate in danger. Throughout this tale set in the author’s native Nigeria, current and past violence taints the lives of these characters seeking solace where they can find it. Each feels longing and loss and must contend with the forces of propriety and duty to family. (May)