The novel is about a beautiful damsel Ifechi who lost her parents and a sister at a tender age and was left at the fate of his father’s friend Nwakibeya who took her in and trained her and also treated her as his own child. She passed through many challenges in her life. First from the encounters she had with men (her husbands) due to the fact that Nwalibeki being a man did not teach her many things she is supposed to know as a lady. Ifechi ended up leaving her husband until she met a perfect match by name Peter Nduka. They lived happily until he was taken away by death.
After the death of Gabriel, Ifechi had to fend for her children all by herself. Later one of her children fell sick his name is Okechukwu. It was resulted to the fate of her father Nwadibeya. Though Ifechi abandoned him after some years because she had no money to take care of her children talk more of taking care of him.
Ifechi at the end of everything enjoyed the fruit of her labour, because her seven children, though she lost some to death but some like Okechukwu who later became a Reverend Pastor made her proud and enjoyed in future.
The novel is started or begins with the introduction of the main Ifechi who walks past an old man by name Nwakibeya. Nwakibeya is her surrogate father, she pretends not to know him because its been long she had gone to see him. The man though blind recognized Ifechi and called her by name telling her that if she does not want the death of her son, she should bring her son to him before dust that day. At that point, Ifechi stood and remembered all she had passed through. The death of her father and also the death of her siblings.
Her marriage to Sampson and how it did not yield success because she know nothing or less about womanhood. She also remembered her school days and her encounter with the stream by name Odo. She also remembered her second marriage with Alfred Nduaka and how he impregnated her and had no option but to marry her. He strated maltreating her and one day when he beat her, she ran out of the house, after she ccrossed the Odo stream he was drowned in the river. She also remembered her third marriage to Peter Nduka whom she loved so much though he later died. The marriage was blessed with seven children.
The novel also revealed another family. The family of Nwammuo, whose wife gave birth to a son, a mysterious child who refused to cry at birth. It was later found out that the son was the replica of the grandfather, Ikeagwu Nwammuo.
Ifechi did everything humanly possible to see that her son goes to see her surrogate father that day. Through the help of Reverend Chukwuma, that goal was achieved. When the boy was taken to Nwakuibeya, he did everything he could to bring the son back to normal. Ifechi was so happy about that. Nwakibeya was revealed to be a very powerful medicine man though he is blind but he had supernatural powers. His blindness was caused as a result of his challenge to a man who walked naked. When he went approach him, the man made him blind.
Ikeagwu was later arrested and detained in prison. He fell ill there and when his illness was abortive to be treated by the medical doctor, his mother Nneka brought him down to the village to see Nwakibeya. Nwakibeya healed him of his sickness.
Towards the end of the novel, the writer revealed another character, Paulinus Eze who had sexual intercourse with late wife in his dreams. It was revealed to the pastor that he has maltreated the wife when she was alive and she had always told him that she would leave him and she later did. The name of the woman is Lifizoba. She is one of Ifee’s daughters. She had gone to the bank of the river that faithful day, pulled off her cloth and entered the river. After much prayers by the pastor Paulines was disentangled from the wife Lyizoba though was an Ogbanje and she entered her mother’s womb with her cousin.
Okechukwu later became a priest and Ifechi was so happy.
The novel is set in this modern period in a rural area in a town by name Umuafor.
The language used in the novel is simple and direct and very easy to comprehend.
Point Of View
The writer adopted the omniscient point of view in his writing.
The mood of the writer was not that of anger nor happiness but just an expressional mood and the tone was passed on to be that of pity in some aspects.
- Theme of death
- Theme of failure in marriages
- Theme of medicinal power
Theme of Death: There were countless deaths in the novel. The death of Ifechi’s second and third husbands. The death of her children, the death of Reverend Chukwuma and the death of Lyizoba her daughter (Ifechi).
Theme of Factures in Marriage: There was incessant failures in Ifechi’s marriage. She married the first husband Sampson and left him because she was too tender to be married then and she knew nothing about womanhood. The second marriage to Alfred Nduka who died when chosing her at the Odo river and the third husband Peter Nduka whom she loved but also lost at a very tender age of marriage after been children.
Theme of Medicinal Power: Ifechi’s surrogate father by name “Nwakibeya” who was a friend to Nwabueze her direct father was a medicine man who was recorded in the novel to had never lost a patient. He was so powerful and does his work with good heart.
Characterization and Characters
The characters were exposed and also described, characters like Ifechi, Nwabueze and others were exposed. Some were exposed by their encounters e.g Paulinus who was exposed by his encounters with his wife when he was telling the pastor.
Ifechi: She is the main character and the protagonist in the novel. She had married two husbands without success before she got married to her last husband who later died leaving her with seven children to fend for. She lost her father and siblings in a very tender age and was left to be taken care of by her surrogate father Nwakaibeya, her father’s friend. She passed through a lot in the novel.
Nwakaibeya: He is Nwakaibeya’s friend and a surrogate father to Ifechi. He had not gotten married again after he lost his children in the war and also lost his wife. He took Ifechi in and treated her like his own daughter. He is a medicine man and treated many ill people. It was recorded in the novel that he lost any patient.
Okechukwu: He is the son of Ifechi. He became ill and was taken to Nwakaibeya. He almost died but by the grace of God he became well again. He later became a Revered pastor.
Alfred Nduaka: He was Ifechi’s second husband. He was a teacher in her school before she impregnated her and was asked out of the school. Out of frustration, he maltreated the wife. He later died when he was chasing her and was drawn at Odo River.
Ikeagwu Nwammuo: He is the son of Nneka Nwammuo. He is a carbon copy of his grand father. It was assumed that he reincarnated and came back to life through his son Gabriel. Ikeagwu did mysterious things. First, he did not cry as a normal child when he was born. He refused sucking his mother’s breast and took only pap. He was later arrested and he fell sack in prison. He was treated by Nwakaibeya and he became well again.