Review: The Clothes of Nakedness by Benjamin Kwakye
Title: The Clothes of Nakedness
Author: Kwakye, Benjamin
Length: 224 pages
Publisher / Year: Heinemann / 1998
Source: Sent to me by Kwadwo - thank you again!
Why I Read It: I wanted to give Kwakye another chance after enjoying but not loving The Other Crucifix.
Date Read: 15/08/12
Through this novel Kwakye explores themes of class and corruption. We are introduced to a man with money, called Mystique Mysterious by all. This man comes upon a group of four good friends and slowly uses his money and power to pull them apart, showing the decline of community and caring through capitalism and greed. The exposure to money and temptation for these men leads them to react in different ways, with some falling prey and others staying strong – but both of these reactions are dealt with by the rich benefactor and ‘friend’.
Kwakye also discusses class, and on this topic I am still ambivalent as to if he was showing how shallow some of the characters were to care so much, or if it was unconsciously slipped in. At various points it is mentioned that certain characters seem too classy for their poor station in life, and comments such as this. If read critically they show the vainness and ridiculousness of the caring about money and social class because they show that people from all walks of life can act in certain ways. I’m not sure, however, if this is how the author meant for it to be read.
While I enjoyed the themes discussed in this work more than those of the first book by Kwakye I had the pleasure of reading, I found the style of this one less to my liking. The book is a bit choppy and jumps around in time. I also found the dialogue a bit stilted. That said, it was a really interesting read that explored many great topics – and also gave a great depiction of city life in Accra. Recommended to those wishing to explore more in their reading.