The Half-God of Rainfall
by Inua Ellams
From the award-winning poet and playwright behind Barber Shop Chronicles, The Half-God of Rainfall is an epic story and a lyrical exploration of pride, power and female revenge.
There is something about the boy. When he is angry, clouds darken. When he cries, rivers burst their banks. And when he touches a basketball, deities want courtside seats. Half Nigerian mortal, half Grecian God: Demi is the Half-God of Rainfall.
His mother, Modupe, looks on with a mixture of pride and worry. From close encounters, she knows that Gods are just like men: the same fragile egos, the same subsequent fury, the same sense of entitlement to the bodies of mortals. The Gods will one day tire of sports fans, their fickle allegiances and their prayers to Demi.
And when that moment comes, it won’t matter how special he is. Only the women in Demi’s life, the mothers, the Goddesses, will stand between him and a lightning bolt.
Sometimes, not as often as I would like, but sometimes I do steer away from my usually preferred genres and try something new. This one was just something new and I am so glad that I chose this one to try out because it’s such a fresh and new experience for me that I was just left really satisfied at the end of it.
For a book with a page count of under hundred, this one manages to pack quite a punch. It tells a tale of Yorùbá and Greek deities, spanning a number of years. A story told in verse with all the epic scope it can reach with powerful words and addressing the way women have been treated in many of the myths across the globe. I didn’t quite know what to expect going in and I think that was the best way to read this one. It managed to surprise me in the best way possible.
It is the story of Demi, a child born out of a rape, his mother was raped by Zeus and of Modupe, the Nigerian woman faced the atrocities committed by Zeus and raised Demi. Modupe is such a strong women, with raw power of her own and we see that near the end of the book, it was such a satisfying to read about it too. Demi is a successful basketball player, his talent and his power shines through without shadowing his mother’s tale.
There’s such an engaging use of language here and with the story itself moving at a great pace, this was a phenomenal experience. It’s short but it’s powerful in leaving its impact on you with its deep and lyrical writing. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Ellams’ more works.