Mamo and LaMamo are twin brothers whose mother leaves the world as they enter it. They grow up in a small village in Northern Nigeria with a philandering and domineering father, Lamang. Dreaming of escape, they decide to run away to become soldiers. Mamo falls sick and is forced to stay behind. He hears from his brother via sketchy letters, as LaMamo joins a rebel group near the Chad border, trains in Libya, then fights alongside Charles Taylor’s rebels in Liberia.
Still in the village, Mamo explores local history. He is recruited by the traditional ruler, the Mai, to write a ‘true’ history of his people. As Lamang fights for political office and Mamo falls in love, LaMamo risks his life for a cause he no longer believes in. As backdrop, Measuring Time has a cast of memorable characters: the devout Christian Aunt Mariana, a witch, a drunken cousin, two unmarried daughters of the white American missionary and Zara, Mamo’s bold and thoughtful lover.
This is an epic novel charting the turbulent recent history of Nigeria through the eyes of a single family. Measuring Time is destined to become a classic of African literature