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Seesaw

Timothy Ogene

‘A very funny, intelligent, deliberately and engagingly resistant, and moving piece of writing’ Amit Chaudhuri

A ‘recovering writer’ – his first novel having been littered with typos and selling only fifty copies – Frank Jasper is plucked from obscurity in Port Jumbo in Nigeria by Mrs Kirkpatrick, a white woman and wife of an American professor, to attend the prestigious William Blake Program for Emerging Writers in Boston.

Once there, however, it becomes painfully clear that he and the other Fellows are expected to meet certain obligations as representatives of their ‘cultures.’ His colleagues, veterans of residencies in Europe and America, know how to play up to the stereotypes expected of them, but Frank isn’t interested in being the African Writer at William Blake – any anyway, there is another Fellow, Barongo Akello Kabumba, who happily fills that role.

Eventually expelled from the fellowship for ‘non-performance’ and ‘non-participation,’ Frank Jasper sets off on trip to visit his father’s college friend in Nebraska – where he learns not only surprising truths about his father, but also how to parlay his experiences into a lucrative new career once he returns to Nigeria: as a commentator on American life…

Seesaw is an energetic comedy of cultural dislocation – and in its humour, intelligence and piety-pricking, it is a refreshing and hugely enjoyable act of literary rebellion.

First published:
November 4, 2021

Category:
Fiction

Reviews for Seesaw

‘A very funny, intelligent, deliberately and engagingly resistant, and moving piece of writing’ – Amit Chaudhuri

‘A witty and warm satire…Ogene sticks it to the literary classes as our hero negotiates the complexities of the cultural exchange between cosmopolitan Africa and the western world’ – Jamal Mahjoub, author of The Fugitives

‘A wickedly funny and utterly disruptive novel that offers us a lens through which to see ourselves and society, without filters’ – Ukamaka Olisakwe, author of Ogadinma: Or, Everything Will Be All Right

‘A witty, percipient, and brilliant novel’ – Jumoke Verissimo, author of A Small Silence

Author

Timothy Ogene

Timothy Ogene was raised in the outskirts of Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria. He has since lived in Liberia, the UK and the US, where he is a Lecturer in African literary and cultural studies at Harvard. Seesaw is his second novel. 

James Lindsay

James Lindsay is a mathematician with a background in physics and founder of New Discourses (newdiscourses.com). He is interested in the psychology of religion, authoritarianism, and extremism. His books include Everybody Is Wrong about God, Life in Light of Death, and How to Have Impossible Conversations. His essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Philosophers’ Magazine, Scientific American, and Time. He led the Grievance Studies Affair probe that made international headlines in 2018, including the front page of the New York Times. He lives in Tennessee and can be found on Twitter @ConceptualJames.