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Tales from Different Tails: My Review

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 Source: Gyan, Kwame

– by Kwame Gyan

There was a terribly cold Cold War going on between Dede (my wife) and me. It was

the type of cold war that will normally result in a man hopping into his car and

heading to the spot for a shot (I am sure we all know that ‘spot’ in Ghana means

bar. Yes?) Ah well, this cold war had ensued for two days now and from all

indications it was going to break our personal Cold War record, that is, our longest

Cold War spanning 3 long days and may I say, even colder nights. I had asked Nana

Awere Damoah to send me a review copy of Tales from Different Tails but I had not

started to read it yet. But on this night with an unfriendly breeze blowing, I

grabbed my Galaxy Tab and began reading it.

First I smiled.

Then I smiled some more.

Then I began to giggle.

I giggled some more.

Then a little more.

Dede was getting curious and upset, but more of curious. I feel more comfortable

thinking she was more curious than upset. She was wondering what I was smiling and

giggling about. So when I began laughing out so loud that tears began streaming down

my cheeks, VOILA! She involuntarily ended the two-day old Cold War.

‘What is it?’ she asked.

I handed the Tab to her and headed for a glass of water from the refrigerator across

the hall. I needed a drink. Water seemed more appropriate. Good ol’ H2O. I had begun

to kiss the tip of the glass when I heard her laugh out louder than I did.

Such was the effect Tales from Different Tails had on me moments after I began

reading it. Right from the first paragraph in the first tale when he writes in

October Rush that;

“Tina was a timid girl, the sort whose timidity enhanced her countenance. She looked

stressed and it was clear she needed a listening ear. As a leader in our hall

fellowship, I was an appropriate downloading site for her worries, one to offer the

requisite comfort and advice. She had been to look for me in my room on three

previous occasions, each time failing to meet me since I kept a busy schedule and

hardly studied in my room. I braced myself for what she had to say. After a few

minutes of hesitation, during which I sat looking at her, encouraging her in

silence, she blurted: “It’s the boys! They are pestering me so, and I just can’t

cope!”

Nana carries his reader to a typical scene within the four walls of a typical

Ghanaian university and manages to walk you through each setting as though you were

sitting around the fires our fathers used to sit to hear stories of our ancestors.

In Nana Awere Damoah, we have a young old man who captivates our attention and

manages not to confuse us whiles telling into our failing ears the stories that we

all experienced at some point in time back in school, in our lantern-lit village

squares, in our white-collared offices, in our prison-style barricaded homes, on the

rickety trotro criss-crossing our heavily pot-holed roads with our nunu-scented

drivers’ mates stretching their arms across our noses, and in the make-believe love

lives that we live with.

Nana tells his tales in a crisp and simple manner such that it places the reader

right in the middle of the narration. The sort of stories that our uncles and

parents used to tell us about life in the village are re-told in a manner only a

good old story teller with years of experience living in a palace and squatting at

the feet of village historians could dare. If you have not tasted life in a Ghanaian

university; or seen the travails of a long distance relationship on the face of a

lover; or heard of the hassle of the illiterate village boy seeking greener pastures

in the messed up big villages we call cities in Ghana, then Tales of Different Tails

is a must-read for you. On the other hand, if you feel you have seen it all and

heard it all, then perhaps a gentle reminder is in order, and my friend has done a

good job in providing that. Nana Awere Damoah brings to life using simple yet

pregnant words, phrases and paragraphs to say the things that you

have seen before, thought about before, and even said before in a manner which puts

the reader right in the midst of the action or within a proximity so close one

seems to feel the heartbeat and each breath of the characters.

The story of Inte Gorang for instance, the second tale in this book reminds me so

much of my days in the Vandal City at Legon. What particularly brings back memories

is the encouraging song that heralded Inte Gorang’s sojourn for love;

Ma ensi wo yie

Inte Gorang eeei

Inte rebel leader eei

Fa nkunim die bra nne!

You know how creative students can get in re-composing even the most complex of

music. In tracing the story of this legend, we are led in on some of the most

prevailing happenings in our schools and how what seems is not always what is. The

reader is led into the mind of the typical male as he strategizes to execute and how

things planned do not always yield results to much the work put in. we are also made

aware of the very different species of females we have strategically spread across

the world as though the old man above wanted man to encounter a woman who would

match him boots-for-heels, chests-to-breasts, natural hair-to-Brazilian wig.

I got totally entertained reading each tale. I must admit I do not have a favorite.

From October Rush through Truth Floats, the mastery of Dribble de Zagidibogidi, the

unyielding spirits contained in Hope Undeferred, the gentle love portrayed in Kojo

Nkrabeah, the angelic presence captured in Guardian of the Rented Well, the

challenges and humor-laden Face to Face tale of the Trotro Palaver to the wahala in

executing Project Akoma, the reader is guaranteed wisdom, humor, a walk-through in

the life of the Ghanaian in various facets of life, but above all, the reader is

guaranteed that Tales of Different Tails will be worth the read.

Source: Kwame Gyan, Journalist/Communications Expert

Columnist: Gyan, Kwame