The Voter by Chinua Achebe, 1965
The magic trick:
Combining the personal with the political
A is for Achebe.
And that’s important because we’re starting a two-month run based on the alphabet. In May, we’ll count down A to Z by author’s last name. In June, we go Z to A by author’s first name.
Doesn’t that sound like fun? Only SSMT hardcore readers will answer in the affirmative, but that is why we love you.
“The Voter” is an interesting mix of the personal and political. For sure, it’s personal, as you’d expect. It’s a story about a man making a very difficult decision and how that decision forces him to reexamine his values. But it’s also very political. The way we get the lay of the land here, it’s almost journalistic. You feel like you’re getting a great political history – with an intense personal story thrown in to bring it all to life
And that’s quite a trick on Achebe’s part.
The village already belonged en masse to the People’s Alliance Party, and its most illustrious son, Chief the Honourable Marcus Ibe, was Minister of Culture in the outgoing government (which was pretty certain to be the incoming one as well). Nobody doubted that the Honourable Minister would be elected in his constituency. Opposition to him was like the proverbial fly trying to move a dunghill. It would have been ridiculous enough without coming, as it did now, from a complete nonentity.
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