Aminat Shiyanbade’s Violets and Dust began with a young writer, who purchased a mini cabin to escape the distractions of life – and focus on writing his book.

Unknown to him, the house was haunted by the ghost of a child, who died sixty years ago, killed by the hands of her father, who not only drowned her, but left her remains unburied in an old cottage.

The ghostly presence is usually welcomed with the scent of violet and dust, which usually comes before a mental and physical attack, and would suddenly fade away in moments, until the young writer met Mad Frank, an old fellow in his eighties who daunted him at first, but appeared after his death to help the young writer unravel the mystery behind the ‘Violets and Dust.’

The characters featured in this book are an unnamed writer, an unnamed old-smallish woman, an unnamed woman, Betty, Cuddly and her unnamed father. Betty represents a mild fellow, full of empathy. We find her willing to help. “Please be careful.” She said to the young writer, “If you notice anything strange, pack your things immediately and come to the village. It doesn’t matter when. Just come to my house, and then you can stay there.” She represents hope in the midst of hopelessness, and love in hate. We find her willing to engage the young writer in a conversation, even when everyone deserted his, she remain in her store. Frank the old man in his mid-seventies, represents one who is in constant guilt which no one knows about, he tried to pour his frustration on the young writer.

Reading through the story makes one wonder if the author is African. The author was perfect in telling the story using imagery, diction, language and style from a European perspective of ghosts. One can find expressions such as, thin ice that lay like a silken blanket over moss, grass, and fallen tree trunks for October …covered with ice …Winter had fully descended on the forest…, ancient trees were buried in thick snow .the snowflakes had not reached the hut, which paints an exact image of an Europe.

The novella tells of how important, it is to sometimes escape from the unpredictability of life, and focus on a definite assignment. The young writer, had to source for a peasant and quiet environment where he could write and work on his dream. Sometimes, the best place to work on One’s dream is in solitude, this was what Aminat exemplified in Violets and Dust. Although, the young writer encountered a peril, we found out that he was able to make good progress, as the words felt comfortable on his notebook and laptop pages. It was obviously his best decision to retire from the world. Thus, he was able to write for days, weeks, and months. However, there are usually sets back and challenges in the fulfilment of purpose and vision. The incessant mental attacks could be metaphoric. It could mean that, to every vision, and a dream there is always set back, which if we persist, not give up we shall succeed. The young writer had his setback. He encountered his challenge, but he stick around until he was able to overcome the challenge. The discovery of the secret behind the violet scent and dust, and solving the puzzle was a breakthrough, metaphorically a triumph over the ordeals of setback in the journey of life, and in purpose.
In Addition, Aminat tells of how, a person could hide under the cloak of religion in a guise to do evil and commit atrocity. Cuddly’s father was a fanatic Christian. He believed in his Christian God, but under that guise, he beats his wife, because of adultery, which in Christianity is sin, and killed his daughter. In her death, he referred to her as a miserable whore, a slave of Babylon. This gives an idea of why the fanatic killed her, perhaps to him, she goes out with men. It shows how far a person, can go for what he believes in, if not properly directed or informed.

The serenity of nature in the book is a replica of the heart of man. How pure and holy it can be, but if feed with hate, evil and anger, could be dangerous. The mini cabin stood at the centre of nature’s gift, but it housed evil, as a result of the evil and anger in it, from the past. Hate should be cured with love, not hate. The past should be cured with forgiveness. If cuddly’s father had tempered with love, and little Mad Frank had tempered with forgiveness rather than shooting him, there wouldn’t have been the scent of Violets and Dusts. There wouldn’t have been Cuddly’s ghost. There wouldn’t have been disappearing incidents.

Violets And Dust is a perfect story. A perfect story it is, in plot and character, imagery and diction, language and literary device, and indeed it is highly recommendable for anyone who loves suspense and thriller.
. Download the Ebook Aminat Shiyanbade’s “Violets and Dust” via the link below.
Prince Ezeabata Chibuzor is a writer. He writes and reviews from Nigeria. He is the founder of Association of Creative Writers, Executive Director of PurposeForte and Managing Editor at The ACW Publishers Ltd.


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