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Things That Men Never Talk About – A Review of Tolu’ A Akinyemi’s Inferno of Silence

Title: Inferno of Silence
Author: Tolu’ A Akinyemi
Publisher: The Roaring Lion Newcastle
Year of Publication: 2020
Number of Pages: 201
Category: Short Stories

Poets who write novels have a distinct voice. Tolu’ A. Akinyemi, the author of “Inferno of Silence,” is one of them. Before transitioning to storytelling, he was best known for his intense poetry (and continuing to write poetry). His short story collection is a daring debut, and it’s hard to believe he’s only recently begun writing short stories.

With its stunning book cover and captivating stories, Akinyemi’s first collection of stories is sure to gain him a large following. The anthology contains seven short stories, two of which have well-known chapter titles; the others are unique to this collection.

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The author writes on, among other things, racism, mental health, marital troubles, emotional trauma, pain, and a lack of empathy. The book demonstrates to the reader that this is life; it is not always beautiful and is full of pain, making the book more relatable.
Some of the stories are set in Lagos, while others take place in Ibadan, Abia, Northern Nigeria, and Europe. His collection is primarily concerned with African cultural heritage, values, and traditions. Akinyemi’s one-of-a-kind stories range from humorous to heartbreaking, but his language is so lovely that readers will appreciate his frequent, unusual wordplay.

The writing is similar to that of a television drama, and we meet a variety of characters who are not afraid to express their true feelings. On the surface, Akinyemi’s characters resemble giant personalities, attempting to adhere to the traditional view of the male gender role, believing that you are strong and in command. The author, on the other hand, has shown the emotional side of men, which is unusual.

In “Black Lives Matter,” a young footballer faces racial discrimination until he decides to speak out. In “In the Trap of Seers,” a female protagonist is dragged by her mother from one prophet to the next. This is both amusing and annoying. In “Everybody Don Kolomental,” Akinyemi investigates the stigma surrounding mental health issues. The impact of trauma on men who have been abused by women is addressed in the title story, ‘Inferno of Silence.’ In “Return Journey,” the philanderer faces the consequences of his previous actions, whereas in “Trouble in Umudike,” Akinyemi delves into family ties and relationships. Chinedu defied tradition by sleeping with his father’s wife until she died. In “Blinded by Silence,” a woman determined not to follow in her parents’ footsteps ends up following in theirs. Poverty, as well as polygamy, are discussed.
The book’s solution for traumatized people is possibly its most refreshing aspect.

Akinyemi has proven to be a gifted storyteller. Inferno of Silence is a fantastic delight for fans of short stories.

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: titi.oyemade@gmail.com Social: @tiipree

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