Corruption, Fear and Occasional Shock – A Review of Olukorede Yishau’s Vaults of Secrets

Title: Vaults of Secrets
Author: Olukorede Yishau
Publisher: Parresia Publishers
Year of Publication: 2020
Number of Pages: 118
Category: Fiction (Short Stories)

Bad decisions are a part of life, and even when there are consequences to these decisions, we often ignore the signals and learn the hard way, as well as keep secrets. However, some old, deep and dark secrets come back to haunt us. But should every secret be kept? The 10 stories brought together in Vaults of Secrets by Olukorede Yishau vividly portray the reality and pains of the hidden world of secrets.

From the attractive cover to the attention getting title, the debut collection of surreal stories in Olukorede Yishau’s Vaults of Secrets vibrate with tension and the strange. His imagination beautifully captures stories about the dead coming back to life, a Governor paying for his political sins, a disturbing case of father sleeping with his daughter, a former cultist lured with promises of cash, and many more.

The best of the stories give voice to hypocrites in the church, the effect of father absence; with characters from young children to extremely old people. The tales come across as thrilling, reading more like a Nollywood movie.

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Recalling In The Name Of our Father, there is no other prosaist who writes on exposing the acts of false prophets like Yishau. His stories make you marvel at how false prophets exploit women and earn their living by prophesying in the name of God for personal gains.

“This Special Gift” should have been called “The One That Knows All Our Secrets”. It’s just page after page of secret sins. Some of the lines stepped out of the dark territory into funny, making a reader less nervous while reading the book.
In “Otapiapia”, one character is described as immoral “behaves in a way that is silly but also ignoring the surrounding”, and the author drops in lines such as “You must not tell anyone what you have just seen”, “I have blood flowing in my veins” and “Do me I do you God no go vex”.

“Open Wound” signals the start of a promising short story career. This story forces you to think about its theme and come up with your own understanding for its message.
Yishau has a talent for writing stories within a story, but none of his characters are ever described. He tends not to breathe life into his characters, including physical and emotional description. Perhaps, the author does not want readers attached to the characters emotionally.

This collection is a meditation on what it means to make unhealthy decisions and the impact of the decisions in your life. Or is Yishau trying to create a sad and frightening atmosphere for the reader?
If you’re looking for a good short story collection, Vaults of Secrets by Olukorede Yishau is a good adventure. But if you are uncomfortable with dark theme stories, there’s a chance you may not enjoy it.

About the reviewer
Titilade Oyemade is a business executive in a leading organisation and holds a degree in Russian Language. She’s the convener of the Hangoutwithtee Ladies Event and the publisher of Hangoutwithtee magazine. She spends her weekends attending women conferences, events and book readings. She loves to have fun and to help other women have the same in their lives. Email: Social: @tiipree

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