I always finish every book I read, it’s my gift and curse. Once I have gone a little past the first page of a book, I feel honour bound to see it through to the last page. I can’t seem to pace my reading, if I am enjoying a book, I breeze past the pages immersed till I am shocked to find myself at the end, possibly mark it for a re-read. When I am not enjoying a book, I will trudge on to its grisly conclusion and then of course vow to never read it again.
I have never left a book half-way, except one…..
In my previous article, I wrote about how Pacesetters sparked my fondness for pop Afrocentric literature. The one book I never finished was a Pacesetter novel written by Damian Asabuhi titled Nanasi Girl.
I was in a bus, travelling from Harare to Masvingo, I had my headphones plugged into my Walkman playing a cassette mixtape with Dru Hill, TLC and New Edition, while reading Nanasi Girl. I was even pondering on how the Shona word for pineapple was chinananzi was similar to nanasi i.e. pineapple in Swahili. Nanasi Girl was the poster model for a pineapple beverage in the book.
The lady seated next to me in the bus, looked exactly like how I might imagine a model for a pineapple beverage to look like, she had short-cropped hair, bleached just like the girl from the book, it was uncanny. She fidgeted a lot and would sigh dramatically ever so often.
I guess unlike me, she had not prepared for the trip. I had books to read, a People magazine with crossword puzzles and a Walkman with spare batteries. Taking out one earpiece out, I asked her if she wanted to something to read. Her beaming expression indicated she would not mind a book.
The other book I had was Tick Tock by Dean Koontz, now that being a bit of horror, I decided I would start on that instead and offered her the copy of Nanasi Girl which I had been close to halfway into. By the time we got to Masvingo, she was deeply engrossed in the book and I didn’t have the heart to ask for the book back.
Instead, we struck an agreement, she would go with the book finish reading it and then return it to me…. It was only after we had gone our separate ways that I remembered we hadn’t talked about how we would get in touch, I didn’t even know her name and so that was that.
I never saw her again.
If a stranger ever gave you a copy of Nanasi Girl and you are reading this, that was me. If you could at least tell me how the story ended it’s been a 25-year mystery and the book seems to have vanished just like the way the other Pacesetters seem to be as if they never existed.
Do you have such a book, unfinished read almost but never quite forgotten.
Week 2: Stories of Africa WinterABC