It was Albert Einstein, the genius theoretical physicist that said imagination is more important than knowledge because while the latter has a limit, the former knows no limit. While knowledge can take one from point A to B, imagination can take one everywhere. And of all the areas of possible manifestations of imagination, creative writing presents one of the greatest outlets, through which things that are not are invoked as though they were – and as a matter of fact come into existence subsequently.
In the last few years, one Creative whose name has rung a bell in many quarters for his imaginative adventures using the instrumentality of storytelling to create new worlds is the Bayelsa-born, now Canada-based Nigerian writer, Michael Afenfia.
Having written professionally for more than a decade now, Afenfia is not new to exploring fresh creative fields. From his first novel, When the Moon Caught Fire; to the second, A Street Called Lonely; the third, Don’t Die on Wednesday; the fourth, The Mechanics of Yenagoa, which would be released by Masobe Books in 2020, and now to his ongoing fiction series, Rain Can Never Know, Michael Afenfia has constantly set a new pace and tried new methods of extending the frontiers of imagination through his work.
Setting precedence with The Mechanics of Yenagoa which commenced in 2017 as a bi-weekly fiction series published on his blog for two years non-stop to the wide acclaim of readers everywhere, the author—in October 2019—started another series titled Rain Can Never Know, which he currently publishes on his blog every week. Inspired by some of the observations around him and set primarily in the same location as The Mechanics of Yenagoa, Rain Can Never Know tells the story of Rain Tanumo, the eponymous character whose life is dotted by various life-changing incidents which she herself and fate conspire to use for her good.
So far, for Rain, it has been a not-so-fine blend of the pretty and ugly as she, on one hand, suffers abuse, betrayal and immeasurable deceit, but on the other hand, enjoys love, promotion and fulfillment. As she navigates the thorns in her roses, there appears to be some mysteries of which neither the protagonist nor the readers are aware. Around this hangs the entire plot.
As the reader progresses however, they encounter Chief Rowland Edozie, whose story offers a complimentary plot. Philanthropist, business tycoon and owner of Edozie Express, Chief Edozie is the instrument for the changing fortunes of Rain, and from him, we learn that—while all things seem perfect for him—the rich also cry. His fate is dire as he must find his way out of an ancestral curse that threatens to cut his life short.
Being an ardent follower of The Mechanics of Yenagoa and now of Rain Can Never Know, there is the temptation to compare both works, particularly because they both first emerged as blog series. While The Mechanics of Yenagoa is fast-paced and suspense-filled from the first line in Episode 1, the writer seems to take his time with Rain and seems to deliberately let the story build to a crescendo that no one is able to predict. The styles of narration are clearly different, same as the characters.
One cannot but miss a character like Saka from The Mechanics of Yenagoa,whose presence gives the reader cause to laugh hysterically from time to time and takes our hearts away from the more serious elements of the story. As Rain Can Never Know continues, who knows: we might be able to get a Saka or at least a semblance – to help us bring some lightheartedness to the story.
With its more somber tendencies, the story of Rain can make one reflect about life and its meanings. It is a deep narration about the typical turn of life events and almost has every episode indirectly inviting the reader to embark on a solemn reflection about the essence of life. The Mechanics of Yenagoa on the other hand, though with a lot of serious content, more than all else has entertainment at the centre of its soul.
As I write this, Rain is in its twelfth episode and might well be too early in the day to tell all about it. However, if the saying that the morning tells the day is anything go by, one might well just say readers should get reader for a roller-coaster.