On her deathbed, Leona seeks forgiveness by confessional. Dastardly as the sin is, it is an act of love, loyalty, disobedience, and perceived fairness. How did she get here, where she, an internationally renowned model, is forced to kill her father-in-law to avenge her mother’s death?
Set against a background of real events, Colours of Hatred is a complex web of plots detailing a woman’s journey from childhood through the fire and anvil of love, loss, betrayal, lust, and duty.
When looking at the full picture, Obinna Udenwe’s novel “Colours of Hatred” is a memoir. In the sense that it shares with us the defining moments in the life of the protagonist set against a background of real events. It’s a story that goes to great length to show if care is not taking the destructive path parents can lead their children down in life.
There is no secrecy the turning point of this story is shared with us in the first chapter of the book. Here we learn about Leona, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese woman and a Nigerian diplomat father—the Minister of Commerce. In this chapter, she is cajoled by her father to marry the son of the man who caused ill will to their family—to bring upon the rival family her family’s wrath by killing her husband.
Udenwe writing is one that is jarring as we are taken in a disconnected manner from future to past, to live through Leona’s memories. From her early days in a Sudan at the brink of war, having to witness a traumatic tragedy at a very young age, leading to her family fleeing to Nigeria.
In here Udenwe flexes his historical knowledge on the armed conflicts between various political and ethnic groups in Sudan, that has resulted in its seemingly never-ending state of crisis. He also showcases his knowledge on Nigerian politics from the nineties to early twenties, artfully mixing the facts with fiction.
In the showcasing of Leona’s childhood, we are shown vivid and disturbing lewd depictions of preteen girls engaging in sexual acts, being sexually abused/raped, in a distasteful manner because of how lightly this serious issue plaguing the world is portrayed within the pages of this book. Making me wonder why it’s that in the work of male authors we frequently find them describing the molestation of young girls, rather than boys.
We go through pages of Leona jumping from one bad decision to another, which can be pointed back to her upbringing, in which she lacked the proper love and care. It is when she is married to the son of her rival family, she finally is given the parental love she has always wanted and answers to the questions she sought are finally answered, but by the time she receives them, it’s already too late.
The romance in this book between Leona and her love interests were entertaining to read. This added to Leona’s persona as an indecisive and superficial being, who is too self-absorbed to see the bigger picture and take the warning signs thrown her way, which ultimately leads to her demise.
This work of fiction left me feeling bereft as the ending was one that is justifiable but still left me unsatisfied as I’m sure was the intention of the author to leave us with unanswered questions.
About the Author
Obinna Udenwe is the author of the conspiracy thriller, Satans & Shaitans and the controversial church erotica, Holy Sex. He is the co-founder of The Village Square Journal – a magazine of contemporary literature, art and politics. His works have been published in journals and magazines across the globe. He is the editor of the anthology, Voices From My Clan and co-edited all three editions of Ebedi Review – an in-house magazine of the Ebedi Writers Residency. He won the ANA Prize for Prose Fiction 2015 and the Short Story is Dead Prize 2016.