“With writing that memorably embodies immeasurable trajectories of sentience, Iduma presents us with a rare work indeed—a book that is both ineffable and tangible wealth. His sense of the journey is stunning, his handling of material genuine. This book bears a treasure on every page.” —Tade Ipadeola, winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2013.
What lesser writers and essayists would approach with hundreds of words, Iduma arrests with the smallest of gestures, near haiku; like a small ray of hope, a tingle of adventure, an urgent desire, tracing through time and imagination. Like his line, “cities appear untethered to their countries,” Iduma’s language is a global cartography, barely tethered to the page. Resisting the linear, and yet with a subtle intimacy, it holds onto a clear logic, a clear progression, and renders back to us, our own deepest melancholic yearnings… Only one word can hold it all, beautiful. This book is beautiful. —Chris Abani, author of The Secret History of Las Vegas and The Face: Cartography of the Void.
The writer is a traveler—not a refugee or migrant—but certainly a stranger, in condition, aspiring to the position and the pose. He is guileless, but carries a camera. His I is an other, as Rimbaud had it. At a time when more and more of us are strangers, at the mercy of others, it is perhaps time to delve into what that means, what it looks and sounds like, and what marvels appear. Iduma’s book is a marvel. —David Levi Strauss, author of Words Not Spent Today Buy Smaller Images Tomorrow
Every chapter in this stunning book reminds us that on the other side of any border stands not a stranger, but our own image, searching for new ground. What is the stranger’s pose, Iduma seems to ask, but that brief and perfect moment when breath and body are one, suspended mid-motion on that long road. Pick up this book and read every word and see for yourself what rests illumined in that revelatory light. —Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze
Here are truthful faces crafted in the crucible of a potent yet tender gaze from one who truly sees, a witness who loves, who relates and belongs, and is subsumed and suffused by what he experiences, and through whom an arcane land can at last whisper aspects of its soul in relief. Storyteller, traveller, seer, Emmanuel Iduma; journey chronicler, itinerant photographer archiving Africa on her mercurial terms is, at last, here. And look, he has alchemically transmuted a conversation between photography and text into a painting and a song. “Something autonomous had come into being.” (pg 69). Indeed, it has. —Yvonne Owuor, author of Dust.
I dream about a book like a great ballad: full of years of living, which is another way of saying full of wisdom. The author doesn’t have to be old. The book doesn’t have to be big—better, in fact, that it be succinct, every page necessary, no wasteful flourishes. Dream of a perfect book, a ballad with all the lyrics remembered. The sleeper wakes from dreams. That book is in your hands. — Teju Cole, author of Open City and Blind Spot, from the foreword.