This House Is Not for Sale Review
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We all know a handful of eccentric characters—those people in our lives whose antics tend to make the best water cooler anecdotes. But in This House Is Not for Sale, author E. C. Osondu introduces readers to a whole house full of eccentric characters—while, at the same time, painting a fascinating picture of everyday life in a small African community.

The story offers a look inside a large, lively home in a busy African town, as seen through the eyes of one of its young residents (with the occasional input from the town’s biggest gossips). Built on a solid foundation of myths and legends, the Family House has been home to family, friends, outcasts, and even a criminal or two. And at the heart of the house is Grandpa, the powerful but generous man who acts as patriarch, priest, employer, judge, and sometimes even jailer to the motley group of misfits who find themselves living under his roof.

In a way, This House Is Not for Sale sometimes feels more like a collection of short stories than a novel, since the narrator often skips around from one character sketch to the next with little or no connection between the stories. Together, though, they paint a fascinating picture of the traditions, legends, beliefs, and customs of the people who live in the Family House and the neighboring community. They tell a story about crime and punishment, wealth and poverty, religion and superstition, and feuds and relationships.

The Family House is home to all kinds. Its residents are businessmen, students, thieves, and fortune tellers. But each one has an intriguing tale to tell. And, despite their differences, they all manage to coexist under the same roof—under the rule of one man who’s been given the right to choose who stays and who goes, who is punished and who is pardoned. The people in the community often judge Grandpa through their whispered gossip. They may fear him, and they may be suspicious of him, but they’re still quick to take advantage of his generosity.

As one character later points out, the stories told in this novel are really all a matter of perspective. Each one can be either good or evil. It can be happy or sad. It can be fact or fantasy. But, whatever they may be, these rumors, legends, and accounts make for a magical, lyrical read.

More than just a collection of separate character sketches, This House Is Not for Sale is a cultural exploration. It’s the story of a strange little community within a community—of the Family House, its spirit, and the eccentric individuals who once called it home.

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