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And After Many Days

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  638 ratings  ·  158 reviews
An unforgettable debut novel about a boy who goes missing, a family that is torn apart, and a nation on the brink

During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family's life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they e
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 16th 2016 by Tim Duggan Books
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  638 ratings  ·  158 reviews

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Dec 19, 2015 rated it liked it
i was very glad to win this book through the firstreads program because i was kind of shocked to realize, when i was writing my gr year in review, how long it had been since i'd read an african novel. the pace of my purchasing them has not slowed, but i'm not really reading the books i buy anymore because i've foolishly made promises to authors, publishers, friends, netgalley & etc and the books i buy just kinda sit there waiting for me to honor my commitments and return to them. winning this pu ...more
Angela M
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the story of a Nigerian family living amidst unrest in their county in 1995. This is the story of a thriving, successful family , with professional parents and children who go to boarding school . It's a story of parents who love their children and children who behave as you would expect siblings to . But then the eldest son , Paul , goes missing and their lives are upturned . After Paul's disappearance, the narrative moves back and forth to the past and back again so even though Paul is ...more
Diane S ☔
Sep 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Ajie is the youngest son and the last person to see his seventeen year old brother before he foes missing. He is also our narrator. So we learn the history of this family, the political unrest always present, the greed of the oil companies and how this affects the country, and how his disappearance effected the family. This novel goes back and forth and once again I felt this kept me at distance from the story. Kept me from feeling close or forming any emotional bond with the characters. The hoo ...more
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
1995. The Political.
Nigeria has asserted its independence from Britain 35 years ago, but the devastating aftermath still resonates through all fronts of the post-colonial struggle. The militarized government (overturned and replaced in coups multiple times) executes human-rights activists it labels dissidents (BBC News). University students take to the streets in protest as reports of police brutality percolate the toxic atmosphere.

As metaphorical darkness reigns, the (actual, physical) lights
Richard Derus
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 4.5 stars of five, rounded up because DAMN

My painful memories made this a tough review to write. I want to stress that my deep delight in the author's writing talent is the one idea you should take away from my review, live now at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

#ReadingIsResistance to repression and to corporatism co-opting the state to the detriment of the people. A four-plus star read, a beautiful example of writing, a Nigerian author whose work we all need to watch. Amazing things are c
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thanks to Goodreads and Tim Duggan Books.

I was very excited to receive this since I LOVE books about Africa. This debut novel sounded like it had all the right ingredients to hold my attention - a family drama in a country undergoing political and social unrest, with the oldest son mysteriously disappearing as conflict escalates between corrupt government, corporate oil interests and local citizens and students caught in the middle. Unfortunately, I had a
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Keen sensitivity and insight fuel this bittersweet story of a family grappling with a personal tragedy in a time of political turmoil. It is 1995 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and the hard earned stability of the Ute family is shattered when Paul, a promising seventeen year old, leaves to visit a friend, and does not return. The story is narrated by Ajie, now an adult as his reminisces about his coming to terms with his childhood and family. Ajie is consumed with guilt as the last person to see his ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
I attempted to read this book but with little to no interest. I mean the story started out fine and for a while I was actually intrigued with what happened to Paul but my excitement disappeared and I found myself just going through the motions until I finally put the book down with no sadness or care for finishing the book. None of the rest of the characters voices were that strong other than for Ajie but even as the story went on his voice grew silent. The other voices were just not loud enough ...more
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Haunting novel rooted in a political reality. I received this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This title will be released February 16, 2016.

Draw yourself a straight line, walk backwards on it to erase your footsteps and you will trip and crack your skull. Straddle the two sides of a stream and you will unhinge your hips. Be unstable as waters and you will not excel.

The Utu family live a comfortable life in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. One day in 1995, their 17-yea
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
And After Many Days
By: Jowhor Ile
Publisher: Tim Duggan Books
Copy Courtesy of Reading Room Giveaway
Reviewed By: tk

Paul Utu is missing. When Paul leaves that morning and says goodbye to his younger brother Ajie, it will be the last time anyone will see him. As straight forward as that sounds it is a tragic event for this family. It is 1995 in a time of struggles and life changing events for the Utu family. Many are poor and violence is unpredictable in Port Harcourt Nigeria. What happened to Paul,
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Paul, a seventeen year old Nigerian boy disappears one evening in 1995 and this story follows the family during the days after his disappearance. The tale weaves back and forth into the past, to the childhood of Paul, his brother Ajie and sister Bibi, and the time spent with their parents in both Port Harcourt and the family's ancestral village.

The author covers family relations, political developments and community action all in one spellbinding story, never losing the thread of Paul's disappe
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, publisher
I feel a little bad that I didn't like this book more. It had an important story to tell but the manner in which the book was written kept me at a distance from the characters and the important events in their lives. At the beginning of the book Paul, the 17 year old son of a middle class Nigerian family, goes missing. However, it is not until the last 40 or so pages of the book that you find out what happened to him. It was unfortunate that I never really got to know Paul, or his siblings and p ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Paul turned away from the window and said he needed to go out at once to the next compound to see his friend.

I don’t like books with clunky first sentences. I don’t like contemporary realistic books about disappearances and grieving families. Because of this, I don’t know why I picked up And After Many Days.

But by page 6 I knew I was in it until the end.

Yes: Paul, the oldest and most-beloved of three siblings, leaves his Nigerian home one day and doesn’t come back. Cue the sobbing; cue the screa
Elohor Egbordi
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I started this novel because of sentimentality... It's set in my (Nigerian) happy place.

But I came to appreciate the characterisation, the plot itself and how the story tugs at a reader's heartstrings 🥰

Spoiler alert: You will ugly-cry 🥺🥺🥺
May 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a very good draft, but shouldn't have been published in this state. There are some glaring problems and technical peculiarities that a published novel shouldn't have.

The novel started with the disappearance of a boy called Paul and didn't go back to the present until the very end, cluttering the whole book with an immense flashback, a decision I found it very hard to justify. Apart from the last twenty pages or so, there was absolutely no forward motion in the book, which put the whole n
Ryan Fields
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Thanks to Librarything and Penguin Random House for this ARC.

Ostensibly, And After Many Days is about the disappearance of a families eldest son, Paul, during a time of political and social unrest in Nigeria. Jowhor Ile uses a mostly nonlinear pattern to explain this event while simultaneously helping the reader to understand Paul and the rest of his family, the Utus. The meat of the novel is not in Paul’s disappearance or in the the outcome of their search for him; the outcome is not really ev
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
And After Many Days begins with the disappearance of Paul Utu and centers around his family's quest to find him. Jowhor Ile uses this as a backdrop to paint a picture of life in Nigeria across cultures and across the urban and rural divide.

One of the major aspects explored in this novel is the nature of Nigeria. Ile gives it a very dualist nature. The Utu family is both urban and rural having homes in both settings. The father, Bendic, has spent time as a Christian, but traditional religious be
Jan 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was sent to me to review from a pool of books to be reviewed pre-release. I must say, I was not completely impressed. While the author did a wonderful job showing the effects of political greed and unrest, how it can effect not just one generation but those after it, it didn't seem well-woven into the story as a whole. In the beginning, I was captured. Reading how the family moved and functioned in the first few days of his disappearance was intriguing. I wanted to find out what happen ...more
Dec 18, 2015 added it
Won this in Goodreads Giveaway/Read an uncorrected proof.

Ma and Bendic are white collar workers who live in Port Harcourt. On long vacations, they take their three children, Paul, Bibi, and Ajie to their hometown in Ogibah. The story starts at the disappearance of their oldest child, Paul, then quickly moves back in time to give you a history of the family and of Ogibah, a resource-rich place increasingly taken advantage of by exploitative companies. Ile does this scene by scene with some very
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-review
Closer to a 3.75 star rating. I really liked the book's construction and how the reader kept getting bits and pieces of how the Utu family is connected or not connected to the political upheaval in Nigeria in the 1990s and whether Paul's disappearance is connected to those events. I wished, though, that Ile also included one or two chapters set between Ajie being brought home from school by his mother and the final epilogue-like three sections. I would have liked to see how Ajie and Bibi were im ...more
Afoma Umesi
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a stunning piece of work. It is not often that a fictional family breaks open your heart and awakens so much nostalgia. This book is an impressive debut. Lyrical, masterful and oh, so tender.
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
*3.5 stars*

Originally posted here.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Goodread - First Reads, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

And After Many Days is about how the disappearance of a young man, Paul, changes one family’s way of life completely. Not only the family, but the community itself. I was caught up in Ajie’s narrative of the past and present. His guilt was pretty heavy, and I felt so sad about his need to blame himself; as he was the last to
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Port Harcourt, Nigeria in 1995. A place where people disappear and bad things are always about to happen. Paul Utu, a 17 year old boy goes missing and Ajie his youngest brother is saddled with seeing him last.

The Utu family is one of dignity, achievement and balance. The challenge of assimilating social, economic, political and technological change is handled with honesty and respect by Jowhor Ile. Ile’s characters are strong, complex and so much can be learned from them during biblical discuss
Abigail Tippin
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
"And After Many Days" was such a great read, I really enjoyed every page of this book. I was able to get my hands on an advanced copy and since then, I've sailed through the reading! Lately, I have been very interested in African literature and I've read a few novels written by amazing African authors, and this novel has made my all time favorite list! Jowhor Ile does a great job is leading the reader through the trials and tribulations of the characters, and he gives such a convincing depiction ...more
Angie Reisetter
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: firstreads
This novel has the feel of a scrapbook, a story assembled from snapshots. The timeline is jagged, uneven, sometimes disorienting. It's hard to tell what's important and what isn't. In fact, the story that frames the novel, the disappearance of Paul, is almost a superfluous detail in the plot. The role it plays is that it made me read the history of the family and the crisis in the country looking for something. Looking for a reason, looking for an answer. I have a feeling other readers will look ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And After Many Days shares the story of a Nigerian family in anguish after the disappearance of their elder son, Paul. Initially, they had hope, assuming they will find him in few days especially after alerting the police and news media. But days go by, months and even years yet there was no trace of him. To help the reader in understanding the circumstances that led to his disappearance, the narrator takes us back to the family's past.

Read more here:⬇️

Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Ile's novel is a different, multi-dimensional telling of the story of the people of southern Nigeria. Here, they are not just victims of a corrupt government and oil companies, but also victims of their own greed and their inhumanity to each other.
What I most enjoyed about this book is the originality. I love that history and the culture of the people are a prominent part of the story; it's beautiful.
A very enjoyable read.
Sonja P.
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was really beautifully written. I know I've been saying that about a lot of books lately, but its so true-I've been lucky in that regard. Its definitely heartbreaking at times, as this family deals with loss and chaos and upheaval, but there's some really lovely quiet moments between family members as well. This is also amazing on audio. So there's that.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it
When the novel begins, the reader is placed in the year 1995, in Port Harcourt, a city named for a man who never even lived there. It is a major port and the capital city of Rivers State, Nigeria. Port Harcourt is going through the throes of various forms of civil activism aimed at bringing the needs of the people to the attention of the government and the “Company”, (an oil investor interested in the oil discovered in Port Harcourt), both of which dominate their lives, destroy their landscape a ...more
Ugochi Okoli
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
And After Many days tells a compelling story of the disappearance of Paul, a young Nigerian boy in the 90’s and the struggle of his family to find him which leads to the exposure of some of their family secrets. It is a powerful story of childhood, of the mild intricate balance between the influential and helpless.
The author’s effortless blend of the political and personal issues told by the eyes of Ajie; a smart young boy whose curiosity not only u
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Jowhor Ile was born in 1980 and raised in Nigeria, where he currently lives. His fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly and Litro Magazine.


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