Eriye Onagoruwa, a lawyer and creative writer, has released her much-anticipated novel, Dear Alaere, an epistolary story of a modern, professional woman in search of work-life balance and societal acceptance in Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos.
This disclosure was made recently as Paperworth Books, the publisher of the novel, formally released the work for public consumption and purchase in Nigeria and the Diaspora, from multiple leading book vendors, well-known bookshops and online sales platforms including Amazon, Bookpeddlers, Rovingheights and Books and more.
Capturing the reality of many professionals, especially women, who live and work in Nigeria’s sleepless city of paradoxes, Lagos, Onagoruwaportrays scenarios that are common in Nigeria, Lagos, workplaces generally and various homes but are rarely captured in fiction.
True to life, Dear Alaerecan safely be said to be a story for every person who intends to work, currently works or has worked in Corporate Nigeria. It is also a story about African marriages and the much-touted Lagos living.
Dear Alaere follows the story of Alaere, its eponymous character, who is confronted by a never-ending theatre of murder, sexual harassment and mysticism when she gets a job at Criole. After her initial excitement of working for a multinational company, it does not take long for her to see that Criole is dysfunctional and bears an eerie similarity to Nigeria.
At home, Alaere is happily married to ‘Laja but they begin to have problems when they experience difficulties having children and their situation is compounded by extended family interference. For no fault of her, she is tagged, “barren.”
With the situation spiralling out of control, she re-assess how she feels about the chaos around her and takes charge of her life with her often humorous, frank diary entries which lets the reader into her astonishing worldview.
“I wanted to write about an experience that is relatable to anyone but which had really not been captured in fiction before. I found two major issues – Lagos living and workplace politics. I weaved the fabric of the novel around Alaere to deepen the context in the reality of many professionals in Nigeria and especially in the ever-bustling city of Lagos,” said Eriye Onagoruwa.
Also commenting, Michael Afenfia, author of multiple critically acclaimed novels including Don’t Die on Wednesday and The Mechanics of Yenagoa, said:
“Eriye has written a captivating story about love, rivalry, betrayal, career, womanhood, and the sometimes unexpected challenges of life in one of Nigeria’s most loved cities, Lagos. Through Alaere’s dairy, she navigates a world most of us can only dream of with a familiarity that introduces her as a voice that needs to be heard.”
Already receiving wide-ranging reviews, the work has been described as “impressive” by many, especially for a first-time fiction author. Femi Morgan, a poet and four-time author said:
“The storytelling is fluid. It bears no markers of intelligent posturing. The storyteller finds a nexus between diary writing and the journey of self-awareness in a hugely chaotic yet impressive city.
“She puts down few reflections in her diary and makes up for time with trying to live a full life of layered suspense. She tries to navigate the realities of being a professional woman in a dynamic workplace filled with subtle warfare, politics and sexual harassment. She also juggles a multi-ethnic Nigerian family, filled with its own negotiations.”
Available in leading book retailers and bookshops, online and offline, Dear Alaereis published by Paperworth Books and was officially released on August 1, 2020.