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Season of Crimson Blossoms

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  263 ratings  ·  63 reviews
An affair between 55-year-old widow Binta Zubairu and 25-year-old weed dealer Reza was bound to provoke condemnation in conservative Northern Nigeria. Brought together in unusual circumstances, Binta and Reza faced a need they could only satisfy in each other. Binta - previously reconciled with God - now yearns for intimacy after the sexual repression of her marriage, the ...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published May 20th 2016 by Cassava Republic Press (first published January 13th 2016)
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  263 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Naz (Read Diverse Books)
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Originally published in my blog, Read Diverse Books

Ibrahim’s Season of Crimson Blossoms is unapologetically non-western and shines as an authentic work of postcolonial Nigerian fiction. As I was reading it, I often thought to myself how different in tone and language it was from almost anything else I’ve read, even compared to other Nigerian writers.

This novel proved to be a refreshing and needed addition to my reading history because it’s a story centered around Nigerian Muslims. About half of
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first saw the cover on my social media timeline and was intrigued and went on to find out more about the author and his debut book. I loved what I read and was captivated by the opening line: "Hajiya Binta Zubairu was finally born at fifty-five when a dark-lipped rogue with short, spiky hair, like a field of miniscule anthills, scaled her fence and landed, boots and all, in the puddle that was her heart."

Season of Crimson Blossoms upset me so much. Here we had Hajiya, 55 year old widow, who sh
Shawn Mooney
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I was drawn to this novel when I heard it was about a 55-year-old Muslim woman in conservative northern Nigeria who embarks upon a steamy affair with a 25-year-old weed dealer.

I'm incredibly fussy about prose. If I don't like the writing, I don't like the book; often, I don't finish the book. That said, I didn't much care for the writing here, but I really, really liked this novel. I'm as confused as all get out.

Ibrahim uses way too many adjectives, and some of them haven't been chosen precisel
Chinenye Ikwueme
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have always admired this author from afar but after reading his first novel which I totally savoured and enjoyed except for the last two chapters which I really hated, my admiration for him brewed. Adams use of language, style irony, symbol and other well thought out literary devices in his book was very engaging. This book I must confess is literature in every sense of it. It reminds me of a good book I read in secondary school 'the last duty by isidore okpewho. I loved this book, it was wort ...more
Siyamthanda Skota
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jesus! This guy is majestic! I admire writers who deliver such splendind debut novels. I want to see him write crime fiction. He's got the skill! He can do it. He will do it...
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a story about Binta, a 55 year old widow, in conservative northern Nigeria, who begins an illicit love affair with 'Reza', a 26 year old thug, gang leader and marijuana dealer. Binta, who was still haunted by the tragic death of her first son, met Reza, who was abandoned by his mother as a child. What began as a clandestine affair eventually led to outcomes that would impact them in significant ways.

This story reveals different shades of human emotions and desires in the social and cultu
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So well written...using dreams and flashbacks seamlessly. Amazing debut by the author. The story captures taboo subjects in such a relatable way.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Hayija Binta Zubairu was finally born at fifty-five when a dark-lipped rogue with short, spiky hair, like a field of minuscule anthills, scaled her fence and landed, boots and all, in the puddle that was her heart."
That is how Season Of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim begins.

Hayija Binta, at all of fifty-five years old, and Reza, a twenty-five year-old drug-pushing gangster, fall in love. In their love of each other, they try their best to forget that:
Binta's youngest child, is older
Sumayya Lee
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
heartbreakingly beautiful
Anuja Chandramouli
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Abubaker Adam Ibrahim’s debut novel, “Season of Crimson Blossoms” is a tale of forbidden passion between a 50 something widow, Hajiya Binta and a young ne-er - do – well, Reza who is mixed up with drugs and dirty politics. The narrative simmers with the tension of a slow – burning fuse even with the foreknowledge that multiple orgasms usually translate into unmitigated mayhem.
This story could have easily devolved into a torrid or sordid romance between a cougar and a willing young buck but Ibra
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This debut is quite promising and the author writes well.
It is a story of an affair between Binta, a 55 year old woman who already has grand kids and Reza, a local gang leader and drug dealer. I loved the blurb. When I saw it was an affair between a 55 year old Hajiya and a 25 year old drug dealer. I was really curious and excited, but my excitement collapsed half way through the book. Why?
1. Reza reminded Binta of her first son who had died in the police hands and Binta reminded Reza of his
Ericka Seidemann
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
On the surface, this novel is about the story between Binta, a 55-year-old grandmother, and Reza, a 20-something drug dealer criminal. Set in northern Nigeria, this affair is really a representation of the repressiveness of the culture of Muslim Hausa society. Binta is grieving the loss of her son, Yaro, and finds maternal redemption in her love for Reza. In turn, Reza finds solace in loving Binta, who reminds him of his mother who abandoned him when he was a child. I found this Oedipus/ Jocasta ...more
Karen Ashmore
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This time, Abubakar Ibrahim proves Nigerians are the best story tellers. Not only was this book well-written but the plot was amazing as he traces the illicit love affair of a 55 year old Nigerian Muslim woman and a 25 year old gang leader. Not only was it a fascinating story but I also learned about the culture of Muslims in Northern Nigeria. Recommend to all who, like me, have fallen hard for Nigerian writers.

– Hajiya Binta Zubairu was finally born at fifty-five when a dark-lipped rogue with short, spiky hair, like a field of minuscule anthills, scaled her fence and landed, boots and all, in the puddle that was her heart. –

– Binta envied [this mother's] liberty she enjoyed, this luxury of calling her first child by its name and holding it and treating it like one's beloved. Such affection she, Bita, had never experienced from her mother, nor dispensed to her late son Yaro. –

– She dreamt in sepia. –
Karina Szczurek
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very moving debut novel. Will watch out for the next title by this author.
Nuzaifa - Word Contessa

Set in post-colonial, conservative Nigeria, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim's Season of Crimson Blossoms is a story that transcends cultural, social, religious and geographical boundaries.

Through Binta Zubairu, a 55 year old widow and Hassan Reza, the 25 year old Lord of San Siro, Ibrahim explores the social, cultural and religious constructs in a censorious Muslim Hausa society. Cross-generational relationships in literary fiction tend to be about older men and much younger women so it was ref
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
The depth of this book sneaks up on the reader, masked in the light, page-turning language of the trashy romance novels its teenagers cloak from parental view under their hijabs. Big topics: post-traumatic stress in children, ethnic and communal violence, drug (ab)use, corruption, patriarchal ownership and well-meaning control of women's bodies, relationships to God and worldly religion, the subtle ways powerful people can be gentle or coercive or not subtle: brutal. Sex and love across age and ...more
Carolyne Gathuru
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tragic in every aspect. The tragedy of unrequited love and requited lust, the tragedy of lost maternal and filial love yearned for, the tragedy of academic based vocational loss versus street vocational gain, the tragedy of political machinations of the old versus young and the sheer tragedy of religious unrest and its traumatic aftermath.... A tale so tragically told that it grips.
Amaka Azie
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
That wonderful feeling after reading a lovely story! 😺
Oh I LOVED this book! A story about a tragic but endearing love affair between Hajiya Binta, a middle aged widow with adult children and Reza, a 26 year old weed dealer and school drop out. Their passion is intense, defying her religious inhibition and sense of morality. A lot of head hoping and switching POVs but still didn’t reduce my enjoyment of this very interesting book. I highly recommend.
Muthoni Muiruri
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It’s been a while since I picked up a book that gets me right from the first paragraph. In most cases I have to wait for the story to build up to the 2nd or 3rd chapter for me to be completely engrossed. Not with this book!!

“Hajiya Binta Zubairu was finally born at fifty-five when a dark lipped rogue with short spiky hair, like a field of miniscule anthills, scaled her fence and landed, boots and all, in the puddle that was her heart.”

Binta, 55 years old, a widow, mother of 4 adults and grandmot
Vasilis C. Onwuaduegbo
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hey my beautiful bibliophiles,

I have just finished Abubakar Adam Ibrahim's debut novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms. It was damn near perfect. I am genuinely surprised by his talent. His book is about the relationship between a weed dealer and a grandmother. It is beautiful, tragic and poetic all at the same time.

The story touched on so many issues in the Nigerian society and it analyzed it with grace and expertise. I am extremely proud to know that I share a country with this author.

One of the
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: diverse books, african stories, books set in Northern Nigeria, Muslim characters, literary fiction
It's set in Northern Nigeria a very conservative place and it's about this older Muslim woman who meets this thug and they end up having an illicit affair.

this book is diverse because it explores how older women (in northern Nigeria) have feelings and desires and also how society impacts relationships.

there were some great lines in the book and some profound moments and it deals with various issues as the different characters deal with their own demons. This book also made me hungry to try Nig
Afoma Umesi
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought it was an interesting storyline especially for one set in Northern Nigeria; a much older widow and a younger weed dealer. The author conveys sensuality and heartbreak really well and highlights the condition of Nigerian politics/politicians.

However, I was unsurprised by the arc of the story and felt like a few of characters' were not developed adequately. It felt incomplete and very predictable. I also really disliked the fact that the Reza character kept saying "you understand" at th
Mish Middelmann
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Complex, multi-layered novel exploring the way wounds are passed from community to family and from generation to generation within families.

Top layer: wow, this is a fascinating window into the lives of northern Nigeria's Hausa Muslim people, and the awful consequences of the violent clashes since 2001 between Christian and Muslim neighbours in the beautiful diverse city of Jos.

Next layer: like the blurb says, this is the story of a fifty-something year old widow Hajiya claiming her sexuality al
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Ideal rating: 2.5 stars. Ibrahim's prose shines in some parts, as does his sketch of northern Nigeria and its history. However, this book became a chore to read about halfway in, the characters' intertwined lives-- the main plot point-- assuming a slower and more tired pace.
Also, one of my pet peeves is when writers from places other than Europe and America feel the need to exoticise their own origins to make reading somehow more appealing to audiences in western countries-- think descriptions o
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Possibly my last read of 2018. What a stunning novel set in Nigeria, a country I didn’t know much about before I picked this up. It’s always rewarding and refreshing to read books from different and lesser advertised cultures and geographies.
Season of Crimson Blossoms is the story of a middle aged Muslim woman, Hajiya Binta who having lived her life sexually depraved and religiously manipulated finds herself in the throes of unfamiliar passion when she falls for a young street criminal.
Set in
Brenda Kodawa
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Oh what a story!

This one here is interesting and different. Different in that stories of forbidden love in the African setting are readily available but not a forbidden love between a widowed grandmother and a vagabond handsome young man in an Islamic community.

Abubakar starts off slow building the characters' background slowly but surely and then takes of on a sprint in the last 15 chapters, almost like running a 10,000 metres olympic race. And when the sprint starts, yes, you will stay up all
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Another attempt towards reading books written by authors from different parts of the world. I'm so very glad I stumbled upon this, thank you! Mr. Abubakar, a Nigerian writer weaves a poignant tale. Binta & Reza (the protagonists) are troubled, dissatisfied individuals who want to steal a few moments of illicit pleasure. The real sadness lies in the ripples this thoughtlessness leads to. The story is peppered with nuances of living in a Nigerian society, not so different ...more
Ajibola Shodipo
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I reckon that the best thing about this book, besides its brilliant style, were the proverbs that introduced every chapter. I found the prose very gentle and the many metaphors deserving of highlights.
That said, i did have some problems at the beginning as there were a lot of names, as well as a lot of sub-stories and i thought that these distracted an impatient reader from the core of the story which was essentially about the travails of an old lady given a second chance at love; love in one o
Susan Kinnevy
Mar 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
I couldn't get through this book although I kept trying because it is a selection for one of my book clubs and very well reviewed. I thought the narrative was very contrived, with lots of Nigerian jargon thrown into dialogue in an attempt to make me feel I was transported to that country. But it didn't work for me, it was instead very off-putting and, to my mind, unnecessary. I didn't like the writing at all so I moved on, but it seems from the reviews here and elsewhere, that many other people ...more
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Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (born 1979) is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist.

His debut short-story collection The Whispering Trees was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014, with the title story shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing.

Ibrahim has won the BBC African Performance Prize and the ANA Plateau/Amatu Braide Prize for Prose. He is a Gabriel Garci