By Ahmad Ghashmari
221pp. Heinemann. $12. ISBN: 0-435-90026-9. 1966
Flora Nwapa is the first Nigerian female novelist to be published. Her first novel, Efuru, was published by Heinemann in London in 1966. Although it came out to be a well written book with a profound message, the novel did not receive the attention it deserves; unlike novels written at that time by African male writers like Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong'o, who both were also published by Heinemann. Efuru is a portrayal of life in the Igbo culture, especially women's life. Set in the village of Oguta, where Nwapa herself lived, the novel tells the story of an independent-minded woman named Efuru. She is a woman who becomes a role model and a catalyst for change in her own society. Despite her success, brightness and wealth, she is unable to have a lasting marriage or give birth to children like other women in her village. She marries twice, but both marriages failed. She gives birth to one daughter who died. But even though, Efuru remains firm and strong, maintaining very successful and prosperous business and standing as a perfect example of generosity, intelligence, and care among her peers.