The Itinerary of Grief by Chika Unigwe
Reviewed by Vandana Devi
Chika Unigwe from Enugu, Nigeria currently stays in Atlanta, USA. She obtained an MA in English from the Catholic University of Leuven and then her PhD from the University of Leiden.
In The Itinerary of Grief, Chika’s narrator takes a trip to India after the death of her husband. The story follows the narrator as she tries to escape the house she lived in with her husband, to another country altogether so as to not have to talk about her husband in past tense, and in the hushed manner their friends and family now speak about him in.
The story features a couple who seem out of the ordinary - they’re quite happy about the fact that it’s just the two of them, though everyone around them seems to think differently. The idea that no matter what, there is always a puzzle to solve on the front porch that will bring them both together is also quite romantic. This leaves us feeling all the more emotional when we think of the puzzle left on the porch that isn’t put together.
Like the 19th century novels where landscapes are important characters, Chika too writes a story where the landscape of Delhi plays a central character with her places and people. Delhi becomes the place where the narrator is able to remove herself from loneliness by engaging with the people as well as the places, and finally come to terms with her loss.
Reviewer Vandana Devi is an intern at Out of Print.