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The Other Crucifix (July 2010)

The Other Crucifix

Kwakye is the master of haunting fiction, with his narratives rocking back and front…The Other Crucifix is another work of genius.
Sun Literary Times

“The third novel of Benjamin Kwakye, The Other Crucifix chronicles the life of protagonist Jojo Badu, a Ghanaian native studying in an elite liberal arts college in America. The novel raises important questions about identity and belonging as it discusses both Badu’s individual struggles and the more generalized experience of the modern African man.” World Literature Today

"Benjamin Kwakye is a novelist whose genius becomes more apparent with each novel he writes. The Other Crucifix, his third, is a must read for anyone who loves a good story. But this work is no ordinary narrative of the transplanted African in search of an education in the West. Benjamin Kwakye demonstrates why he is the grandmaster of storytelling, and with the creation of Jojo Badu, the often naïve narrator, we come to know a character who by turns is infuriating and endearing, and whom we see mature into a responsible adult. Yet, this is no mere bildungsroman, Benjamin Kwakye’s mastery of the novel’s form and language enables him to economically capture the breath, depth and emotional energies that inform the actions of the characters whose lives speak not only to the specificity of life in an elite Liberal Arts College, or being in Ghana intoxicated by the heady promise of the post-independence era, or caught-up in the transformative period of the U.S. during the 60s and 70s. The Other Crucifix is a modern-day epic that embodies the wisdom of the Sankofa bird as it reviews the last century: the lessons learned or not, the paths taken or untrod, and prepares us, like Jojo, as we finish reading the last page, that “life starts again.” There is hope resonating in this gem of a novel."
Prof. Vincent Odamtten

“[A] captivating tale of double estrangement… In a nutshell, The Other Crucifix is the handiwork of a literary virtuoso, anchored in the themes of psychological and physical exile and the quest for self-identity. The pedagogical import of this novel resides in its suitability to the young and the old. The language is clear and free of sophistry. Students and teachers with an interest in African history, languages and cultures would find the text an invaluable resource.”
Peter W. Vakunta in Pambazuka News

“With a powerful message of the place of the modern African man, "The Other Crucifix" is a fine read that shouldn't be missed for world literary fiction collections.”
Midwest Book Review, November 2010

“'The Other Crucifix' marks its narratorial brilliance magisterially with themes hitherto only minimally expressed and unexplored at length in African and African American fiction. In a brilliantly crafted tale of student activism, blissful and delicately sweet-turned sour companionship and marriage with Fiona, followed by vagrancy and testing fatherhood that directly relates some very rich African American experiences with an immigrant African’s story of struggle and survival in the United States. Lead protagonist Ghanaian Jojo Badu gives us insights not only into the most intimate and intricate details of the lives of his several interesting characters, but connects his highly interiorised personal narrative with the politics of other stories of global solidarity. In this sense, while Benjamin Kwakye’s highly stimulating and engaging narrative is a novel of epic proportions, reminiscent of such classics within the African literary canon as Syl Cheney Coker’s 'The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar', Ben Okri’s 'The Famished Road' and lately Ngugi wa Thiongo’s 'Wizard of the Crow', it stamps its own revelatory and reflective authority on contemporary African fiction."
Kwadwo Osei-Nyame, Jnr
University of London

“The Other Crucifix articulates a particular perception of events in postcolonial Ghana and the civil rights era in America that brings the literary tradition into a direct dialogue with a host of socio-political issues. The book’s a-historical narrative structure depends on timeless allusions to places, events, situations, peoples and hard realities for embellishment and credibility. Only a gifted novelist with the visionary commitment of Benjamin Kwakye can utilize these elements successfully to produce such an eloquently written tale.”

Dike Okoro, Editor of Speaking for the Generations: Contemporary African
Short Stories (2010).