The Graveyard Meeting and Other Short Stories is a powerful and educative literary work, with rich choice of words ideal for English language learners. It is a book that enforces basic communication in every academic discipline.
Written by Beulla Likambale-Ng’ombe, the setting of stories in the book is captivating and creates vivid pictures in the readers mind, in the process making it hard to put down once one starts reading it.
The beauty of the familiar setting of the stories makes the reader even more glued to the book and invokes their emotions, thereby making them part of the story.
The relevance of all the stories in this book cannot be overemphasised. Most of the stories speak to the dying social fabric in Malawi and Africa as a region. The book has ably tackled a number of social challenges, ranging from merciless killings of people with albinism by close relations, the fear and the uncertainty that people with albinism live with, the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and how it has caused havoc on all sectors of humanity and, most importantly life, infidelity in marriages and delinquency among young people. The book also touches on the growing societal expectations pushing young women to settle down in marriage.
The systematic portrayal of how infidelity and mistrust causes of the breakdown of once beautiful, romantic and cohesive marital relationships in these short stories connects the reader to the usual street gossip about romantic relationships and their enemies even in real life. This makes the stories a real mirror of the society enhancing their relevance.
In The Graveyard Meeting and Other Short Stories, Likambale-Ng’ombe writes: “As she was being assisted to get into her pure white Cinderella wedding dress, she paused for a moment to look back at what had brought her to this point. It had all been a whirlwind, and everything had happened so fast. She couldn’t believe that after all the twists and turns, in a few hours from now, she would be saying ‘I do’ to Masa, as she fondly called him.”
The title story is about children whose mother dies and the father gets a new partner. The new partner ill-treats the children so much so that she sends them to the graveyard to ‘look’ for their mother. While there they meet Zione who takes them in and her association with the children eventually leads her to fall in love with their father.
The way the book depicts the challenges that affect the family as an institution and what orphans and vulnerable children encounter following the loss of their parents and in the ever-growing rush to respond to emerging career and business demands is emotional, educative and so real that it extends the relevance of the book even to social workers, teachers, psychologists and law enforcers.
The book suggests serious solutions of rebuilding the family to make it ready again for its role of protecting and nurturing children and to make the family regain its lost glory.
The book also brings out a strong affirmation to the reader that despite the torn social fabric of the family, the society, good people still exists. It also ably demonstrates how good people get bailed out of some challenging and unpredictable life events owing to the seed of kindness they deposited in the course of their life journey. The thrill created from such stories is a perpetual encouragement to every reader to still do good regardless. Isn’t this a good teaching to a busy society as Malawi?
The concept of fate is vividly present in a number of stories, at least fate forms part and parcel of our beliefs as a people. This enhances the connection between the stories and the reader even more.
The good use of suspense in this literary work makes the reader as active as ever and gives them an opportunity to make their own conclusions. This is fun at the same time creates a great imagination in the readers mind, who does not like imaginations?
The rich choice of words in this book makes it an important resource for learners even doing their Malawi Sschool Certificate of Education or in the early years of their university. Every learner needs to grow their vocabulary and this book offers a perfect opportunity for that. Growing one’s vocabulary is not only great for journalists and communication students. It is just good for all study disciplines as such this book is a must-have for every learner.
Schools can also buy the book as part of the literature to stock up their libraries.
Save for a few grammatical errors, the book is a must-read for literature lovers.
I can hardly rate the stories, as every story has its unique style, teaching and brings its own excitement. However, The Graveyard Meeting is a master piece of them all.
Likambale-Ngombe, a lecturer in the Business Department at Malawi Adventist University, has also authored other books, including Surviving an Interview, Becoming the Best Interviewer and For the Love of Oly.