Echoes in the Web by Femi Owolabi, is a compelling thriller that weaves different characters from different spheres of life into a situation through one coincidence or the other. Echoes in the Web is a curious case of cause and effect in less than 24 hours with every character entangled in a web of chain reactions.
The novel opens with Bolaji Ajayi and his Ugandan wife, Mangeni. Bolaji is preparing to go on his one week trip to the Nigeria Navy Anniversary to be held at the force headquarters at the federal capital territory, while his wife savour the coolness of her bathtub, none of them anticipating how the day would turn out for them.
Femi Owolabi was able to use simple language to explain the ordeal Bolaji went through in a single day, from his irrational behaviour due to his wife’s distressed voice on the phone to his other decisions that took him back to the past till the time of his birth where he found out that the man that impregnated his mother was not just his battery charger’s landlord, but also is ex-girlfriend’s father, which was a relieve to the girlfriend who was angry at Bolaji forever refusing her sexual advances at him for the years they dated back in the university. Though Bolaji believed his wife cannot cheat on him, but it is obvious that he knows little about the wife, because it was this same wife that could’ve ended up in Balondemu’s bed if not for the fortunate call she received by her husband whom she believed was already in Abuja for the Nigerian Naval Anniversary.
The novel combined the issue of fate, nemesis, and karma in one package. With its complex plot, the characters reveal more as the story progressed. Every supposed right move becomes a wrong turn from the naval officer who due to his misinterpretation reacted without thinking and ended up in the wrong place and the right time.
The story is filled with intrigue as every newly introduced character seems to come with a strong connection to the already existing plot. The story portrays the world which though seem so big but can be really small, and how a person’s perfect world can crumble in the blink of an eye.
This story also laid great emphasis on the state of moral decadence in the society, especially sexual immoralities. Unfaithful partners seem to be the order of the day as the real life of a naval officer is portrayed in Balondemu Gwandoya, who sees nothing in a woman except as a sex mate, which is why he got to married Nabirye, a woman who has gotten her own share of suffering, fantasy and joy from the world. Balondemu got married to her even though he has no interest in except fulfilling his promise to his grandmother and his lustful desire, a desire that he ended up having for the wrong woman, Funke, a secretary in his newly designated area which led to his downfall.
The author used a lot of flashbacks – which wasn’t too good – to put the reader’s mind on the right track; almost all the characters have something to remember. Also, the characters were merely seen on the surface; the ‘why’ of their actions were not stated, which makes it difficult for the readers to connect with them.
At the end, they were all entangled in a web that seems to have stretched so hard that any other character would have been preferred to stand alone.
The story weaves the characters tightly together with just one event, where Bolaji’s irrational behaviour brought all characters back together. This story supports the saying in life that our life is shapened by ten percent of the things we do and ninety percent of the things that follows are the causes of the en percent of what we have done in the closer or farther past.
Though the story ended too quickly as if the writer is in a haste to finish the work that concrete details were not given, he was able to achieve a satisfactory resolution with all culprits meeting their karma, and some bitter truths out in the open. It is a nice book and a must read for all who consider life to always work out as planned.