Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun
Cassava Republic Press 2016
Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s second novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun (Cassava Republic Press, 2016), is an excellent addition to the larger, and ever-expanding, genre of Nigerian literature. The novella begins slowly, teasing out details of the main character’s life as she interacts with the people of her San Francisco neighborhood. Morayao Da Silva, the main protagonist, is an elderly Nigerian woman, who is positive, youthful and independent. A fall interrupts her independence and forces her to become dependent on others, which exposes to the reader a hidden loneliness to her cheer and allows Morayo to reflect back on her life of world travel and eventual limitations brought about by age. Each character in this book, from the young mother named Sunshine, to the older African American man visiting his dementia-afflicted wife at the rehabilitation center, allows the reader to get deeper insight into the world of Morayo, while also exploring other character’s insights on the protagonist from an outside perspective. Overall this is a complex and nuanced read. The meandering pace is a testament to the lived experience, and the reader is rewarded for their patience with a thoughtful and satisfying character study.