As soon as I was sent this book to consider for review I snapped it up. I don’t know about you, but I use books to broaden my horizons. I’m not necessarily bothered about being an expert in all things that I read about, but I am interested in other life choices, their meanings and how it affects the people more directly involved than I could, or would, ever be.
And this is a classic example.
If I’m being honest, the first half of the book I found tough going and I was disappointed by this. I really wanted to fall under the spell of the Oshun and Aduni and I was finding it hard. The novel was at this point, more about how much Diane loved and fell under the spell of a woman who would shape her future choices in life. However, it was a necessary telling and I was pleased that I ploughed through it because in the second half, all of this story fell into place and I felt myself flipping the pages with more and more momentum as the impact of the earlier pages made themselves known.
By the end of the book, I was captivated and found myself looking at the author’s first book because I definitely had that hangover you get when you’ve finished a book you were both desperate to reach the end of, while at the same time, being saddened that it’s over. If Diane’s purpose was the intrigue and open the reader’s mind to Oshun, then she’s done a spectacular job as I’m now hungry for more learning on the subject, so thank you.
High priestesses are few and far between, white ones in Africa even more so. When Diane Esguerra hears of a mysterious Austrian woman worshipping the Ifa river goddess Oshun in Nigeria, her curiosity is aroused.
It is the start of an extraordinary friendship that sustains Diane through the death of her son and leads to a quest to take part in Oshun rituals. Prevented by Boko Haram from returning to Nigeria, she finds herself at Ifa shrines in Florida amid vultures, snakes, goats’ heads, machetes, a hurricane and a cigar-smoking god. Her quest steps up a gear when Beyoncé channels Oshun at the Grammys and the goddess goes global.
Mystifying, harrowing and funny, The Oshun Diaries explores the lure of Africa, the life of a remarkable woman and the appeal of the goddess as a symbol of female empowerment.
About Diane Esguerra
Diane Esguerra is an English writer and psychotherapist. For a number of years she worked as a performance artist in Britain, Europe and the United States, and she has written for theatre and television. She is the recipient of a Geneva-Europe Television Award and a Time Out Theatre Award. She is previously the author of Junkie Buddha, the uplifting story of her journey to Peru to scatter her late son’s ashes.
She lives in Surrey with her partner David.