Lonely Days – Summary

‘Lonely Days’ is a novel by Bayo Adebowale; genre- fiction.

Lonely Days

Lonely Days – Summary

Lonely Days chronicles the plights of widows in Kufi, a fictional Yoruba village in Nigeria. When a married man suddenly dies in the traditional Yoruba culture, his wives are suspected of being behind his death. It’s believed no death is natural; every death has a cause. Therefore, the man’s wives are forced to take a test of innocence by licking a libation for the dead. 

After the windows survive the inhumane treatment, they’re also requested to remarry. Refusing to remarry is punishable. In the novel, Yaraemi refuses to remarry after the death of her brave husband and hence faces a threat of ostracization and confiscation of her dead husband’s property from the elders.

Lonely Days is a novel by the Nigerian author Bayo Adebowale. Adebowale tried to reflect on the plights of windows, although exaggeratedly, in typical African society. The novel narrates the unwelcome attitude of society, which the windows have to bear in the ever absence of their husbands.

Plot Summary

The novel starts with Yaremi lamenting over the death of her lovely husband, Ajumobi, which has left her lonely and makes her vulnerable to the static tradition of Kufi. Yaremi has three children: Segi, Alani, and Wura. Two daughters and a son. While she tries to overcome the pain of her husband’s death, her grief worsens. This is because her extended family and villagers, who traditionally believe that she knows the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of her husband, Ajumobi, compelled her to confess to killing her husband. 

Yaremi’s two daughters: Segi and Wura have all married to other villages further from theirs. Yaremi’s only son, Alani, now resides in the city of Ibadan and rarely comes home after being over-civilized.

Yaremi is left alone in the village to mourn her late husband confronting the tradition that requires her to remarry and take the blame for being responsible for her husband’s death.

Despite her condition, she still tries to remain strong: she clears the bushes for farming, runs her taffeta business, and caters to the needs of her grandchild, Segi’s son, Woye.

Woye has become her company as everyone deserted her. Yaremi frequently recalls her childhood memories and feeds them to Woye, who eases her stress and the burden of the agony caused by her husband’s death. Woye learns to count numbers and perseverance as he works on taffeta clothes.

Yaremi is not the only window subjected to inhumane treatment in the story. There are three other windows in the story – Dedewe, Fayoyin, and Radeke, who have suffered greatly at the hands of their extended family and the tradition after the demise of their husbands. The three windows do confide in Yaremi before her husband dies. They talked about their bitter experiences at the hands of the village when they coincidentally met on a track leading to the stream.

Fayoyin, one of the notable windows in the story, has her hair brutally shaved in the aftermath of her husband’s death. She was coerced into licking the libation for the dead as she was accused of killing her husband.

Dedewe was left in a darkened room with the remains of her husband in the hope the husband’s spirit will hurt her. She was accused of killing her husband, too.

The last of the windows is Radeke. Just like with Dedewe and Fayoyin, Radeke was also accused of killing her husband and punished according to the village tradition.

The novel introduces Ajimobi through a flashback. Ajimobi is Yaremi’s husband: a hardworking man and a renowned hunter. He often boasts of his hunting mastery and a strong liking for palm wine, which he does drink with friends. Ajimobi loves his wife, although he plans to remarry. Before death knocked him down, he planned to rejuvenate his house.

No marriage is without a hassle, but, despite Ajimobi’s quarrels with his wife, Yaremi, the love that adheres them together from the onset is undoubtedly intact. Ajimobi’s death caused Yaremi pain and difficulty. She had to inherit her husband’s role since Alani refused to come back to the rural village. 

Other men who subjugate their wives at home fear the unchecked growth of Yaremi will become a threat to their inherently dominant position in the village. Yaremi is independent and hardworking; therefore, she feels it’s of no importance to remarry with the support of her daughter, Segi.

The village elders request her to remarry. Other windows like Dedewe, Fayoyin, and Radeke have remarried through ‘cap-Picking’. Three men appear to marry Yaremi: Ayanwale – a famous drummer, Olonade – a wood carver, and Lanwa – a half-brother to Ajumobi and a wealthy farmer. However, Yaremi, who sees remarriage as undesirable, rejects the noblemen in the presence of the village elders, making the elders worry about Yaremi’s stubbornness. They, consequently, plan to ostracize her and seize her husband’s properties.

Deyo, Ajumobi’s lifetime friend, brings Alani home from Ibadan to show him the plots of land that haven’t been tilled since the death of Ajumobi. Alani’s presence seems to mitigate Yaremi’s anger. After a while, Alani revealed he had no interest in living in the village or farming. He left his mother with a small amount of city food and went back to Ibadan, where he claims he has a lucrative carpentry business and a girl pregnant for him to marry.

 

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Setting

The novel is set in a fictional Yoruba village in Nigeria. In this village, the death of a married man is believed to have been caused by his wife.

The protagonist of Lonely Days 

Yaremi is the protagonist of Lonely Days by Bayo Adebowale. Yaremi, in the novel, grew resistant to a tradition that makes her take the blame for her husband’s death and expects her to marry another man against her will. The story revolves around Yaremi from the beginning to the end.

How did Lonely Days end

Yaremi after the death of her husband lived a lonely life; she was forced to remarry by the village elders against her will. Yaremi refused to remarry. Instead, she channeled her energy into her farm and taffeta business, making her self-reliant. The village elders continue to pressure her into remarrying. When she eventually rejected the three suitors who propose to marry her in the presence of the entire village, the village elders threaten to ostracize her and confiscate her husband’s properties. So, Yaremi cries and laments about her future days of window life and loneliness.

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