Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun

Sarah Ladipo Manyika. Cassava Republic (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (126p) ISBN 978-1-911115-04-5
Age is no barrier to enjoying life in Manyika’s short novel. Dr. Morayo Da Silva, who was born in Jos, Nigeria, and now lives alone in San Francisco, is approaching her 75th birthday. The tale begins with a typical day in the retired professor’s life: puttering about her apartment, choosing beautiful garments, enjoying a stroll, and interacting with others in her neighborhood. A fall sends her to the Good Life Rehabilitation Center for a brief period but, even here, she eschews a bland existence, preferring to live vicariously through her books and to meet new people. A few chapters are written from the perspective of others in her orbit, including Sunshine, her young friend, and Toussaint, the substitute cook at the rehab center. Morayo’s memories are of days with her former husband, Caesar, a diplomat, and with Antonio, a lover from her past. Everything isn’t perfect for Morayo, and at one point she declares to herself that “old age is massacre,” but she faces her challenges with joie de vivre and determination. This is quiet, striking, and affecting portrait of a life, and readers will appreciate the nuance that lies beneath the apparent straightforwardness. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/10/2017
Release date: 04/11/2017
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