From the pen of Joy C. Agwu comes a timely work of fiction, dealing with the problems that arise when traditional societies and patriarchies are confronted with demands for modernisation. I Live by the Gun is Joy’s third published work and first full-length novel. Set in modern-day Nigeria, it tells the story of a family torn apart by conflicting ideas and loyalties, as they pertain to social and family relations.
When Edward, a successful, caring family man is gunned down one day by violent criminals, he leaves behind a widow with two young children. They continue to enjoy the support of Edward’s wider family circle after his death. Turmoil enters their ranks however, when Robert, Edward’s older brother, announces his intention to move into the family home of his late brother, citing local traditions. Robert’s own family, from whom he is estranged, oppose his bid. His father also strongly warns against this course, "Lest tragedy and pestilence befall you." He advises Robert that, "Any tradition that does not add value to our lives has to be thrown away."
In I Live by the Gun, Joy C. Agwu continues her preoccupation with themes of family, faith, community and the ties that bind, which are much in evidence in her previous work. With I Live by the Gun however, she takes these themes a step further however, championing the cause of individual autonomy, which is invariably threatened when society perceives it to be a threat to its own values and traditions.
This thoughtful and considered account can be read as an affirmation of human rights, as they pertain to women and children in particular, weighed down by the expectations of 'culture and traditions'. Such claims, when invoked in an anachronistic sort way, often serve as a pretext to impose conditions of servitude upon people.
I Live by the Gun by Joy C. Agwu is published by The Manuscript Publisher, in print and e-book editions, which are available to buy online as well as in all good bookshops. RRP €10.99 plus P&P for the print edition. The e-book editions are currently available at a special introductory price of US$2.99 (subject to local taxes and currency exchange rates).
Further information is available from the website of The Manuscript Publisher and from the author’s official website.