cover image I Am Still with You: A Reckoning with Silence, Inheritance, and History

I Am Still with You: A Reckoning with Silence, Inheritance, and History

Emmanuel Iduma. Algonquin, $27 (240p) ISBN 978-1-64375-101-6

Art critic and journalist Iduma (A Stranger’s Pose) delivers an immersive memoir about his uncle and namesake, who disappeared during the Nigerian civil war in the 1960s. Iduma, an Igbo who was born and raised in Nigeria, wades through murky family history following his father’s death in 2018, drawing on family interviews, visits to war sites, and academic research to piece together his uncle’s last days and reveal the connection between his death and the political upheaval in Nigeria at the time. Iduma’s uncle, who enlisted in the Biafran Army just before the war started, was killed after providing cover for his comrades. As Iduma grapples with his own grief, mirrored by his father’s losses, including the death of Iduma’s mother when he was a child, he wonders “how to transfer a man’s consciousness to those he leaves behind.” Throughout, Iduma reflects on the power of family to both unite and divide, and as he weaves his background into Nigeria’s historical tapestry, he acknowledges how his heritage is reflected in his uncle’s story (“to be Igbo in Nigeria is to be a victim,” he concludes), eventually finding peace in his uncle’s choice to sacrifice himself for others. Iduma’s unraveling of the past is bound to leave readers eager to uncover their own family secrets. Agent: Alison Lewis, Frances Goldin. (Feb.)