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Behind Closed Doors - Literature - Nairaland

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Behind Closed Doors by KingsleyAni1993(m): 11:31am On Aug 21, 2020
I received a free copy of Behind Closed Doors from the author in exchange for an honest review of same.

Blurb:

What would you do if you were a homosexual in a country where being gay is severely frowned upon and considered a taboo? What is the ultimate price to pay if you were different, gay?

Lagos playboy, son of an ex-beauty Queen; and sole heir to the Johnson fortune, Henry Johnson, is facing a stunning controversy because of his sexual orientation . . . He loves men, yet the thought disgusts him and throws him into turmoil, that is, until he encounters Phoenix, a bisexual male stripper and prostitute who is wildly ambitious and will do anything to climb the social ladder. Phoenix is the one man that opens his eyes to the taste of the forbidden fruit, to what it feels like to hold another man, to kiss another man, and to bed another man.

One taste of the forbidden gay fruit and Henry knows he's trapped. Trapped between Society's expectations, his duty to his family, and his hidden love of men. Set against the backdrop of a sprawling, decadent Lagos City, and from there to the outer edges of Eastern Nigeria, where being gay is unimaginable, a gay romance unthinkable, the consequences of being caught frighteningly debilitating and cripplingly suicidal, Behind Closed Doors is a story of hidden passions that take hold in the dark where same sex love thrives.

Henry will be forced to look deep within himself to unearth the man beneath, to make the toughest decisions of his life as it concerns Phoenix, a young man whose destiny becomes irremovably entwined in his. He will have to question everything he holds dear, everything Society has taught him. He will be forced to question his very existence.


My review:

Are you ready for an explosive novel that delves deep into the gay narrative that sets Nigerians afire? Are you ready to revisit the issue of the forbidden nature of same-sex attraction and love, against a backdrop of the country’s poverty, strive for survival and the divide between the ultra rich and the crushingly poor? If yes, then Kingsley Adrian Banks’ debut novel, Behind Closed Doors is the perfect opener to examine Nigeria’s same-sex narrative.

Behind Closed Doors is a gay fiction that centres around a character, Henry Johnson, who is the heir to the family fortune of one of Lagos’s richest, oldest and most powerful families, the ultra rich Johnsons. Growing up, Henry is besieged by the highest level of domestic violence—in the form of his father always raising fists to his mother—and that helps to shape the core of who he is. But he is deeply assailed by a horrible, crippling fear of his growing sexuality—a sexuality that is centred with frightening exclusivity on boys alone.

Coming from “rich stock”, as most Nigerians would lightly put it, he’s forced sexual experimentation with few girls, and found, to his growing chagrin, that he feels nothing for women. He remained conflicted, until he encounters a young man known only as Phoenix, with whom he explored his innate, basic desire, and found, to his utter horror, stunned pleasure, and exponential disgust, that he loves everything about the male anatomy.

Kingsley Adrian Banks wrote this book with a fresh take on the gay issue. He took the time to explore the cultural stereotypes Nigerians adopt: of the effeminate “gay” man who actually does not sexually identify as gay but as bisexual, though society has branded him gay because of his gender presentation; of the “straight-acting” masculine male who is the embodiment of the societal ideal of what a heterosexual man is, but who is hopelessly, forcefully gay but can “blend” in and pretend to be straight in order not to be stigmatized for his sexual orientation.

At times Banks’ writing is quite hefty, dark and evocative because of the pain and sorrow and hatred he manages to infuse in heavy doses throughout the entire book, but when he touched on the core aspects of his chosen themes—same-sex relationships, society’s hatred of the feminine male, and invariably the forbidden nature of same-sex relationships in Nigeria even before same was eventually criminalized by Goodluck Ebere Jonathan—his writing flashes with deep insight.

From forced heterosexual unions, to the furtive gay relationships undertaken in small doses at those times of newly introduced mobile phones into the Nigerian market, those times of Jazz in Lagos clubs and endless dancing and visits to friends and family because of the lack of telecommunications infrastructure, “Behind Closed Doors” explores the deepest and darkest part of physical relationships, especially when examined through the clouded Nigerian lens of bigotry, hatred and sanctimonious censorship.

Banks may not have lived as an adult through the Nineties in Nigeria’s Lagos, Onitsha and Calabar, but he explored the relationships and human dynamics with a timelessness that rings through even to our current times. In “Behind Closed Doors” he distinctly captured the Nigerian essence, the life as it is lived both in the affluent homes and among those with poverty threatening to crush them—all tinged with the secrecy of what literally goes on behind closed doors: the illicit affairs, the maltreatment and severe abuse meted out by husband to wife or wife to house servant, the in-bred hatred for anything not known and understood, and of course, the ever present condemnation of the public if they discovered your own sins.

Like the few other writers who have actively explored same-sex situations and relationships in full-length Nigerian novels, Banks did justice to a topic that would never die out, particularly given that Nigerians view same-sex romantic relationships with great disdain and now that same-sex romantic relationships are outlawed in Nigeria, punishable by up to fourteen years imprisonment.

In “Behind Closed Doors”, Banks explores what would have been the ordinary lives of Nigerian men, but lived through the black-tinted lens of a society angry with anything that goes against the heteronormative norm they are used. Unlike many gay fiction books, this book is frank in portraying the dark truth and reality of what it means to live gay in Nigeria, a country that views it as a serious taboo for someone to be gay; a country where gender non-conformity is viewed with suspicion, automatically branding you as a gay man or woman, even if you aren’t.

A seeming master at unmasking the deepest and darkest secrets many people live with, Banks deftly explores the double life being gay can make a person live in Lagos, while navigating the underbelly of Nigeria’s most populated city and the myriad tales it has to offer.

Simply put, “Behind Closed Doors” is a cultural narrative, showcasing things in Nigeria as-is, while offering absolutely no hopes of a better tomorrow or for love for any person who is unfortunate enough to not conform to the Nigerian Society’s demands.



Link:

https://okadabooks.com/book/about/behind_closed_doors___adult_only_18/33776

Ebook: https://paystack.com/pay/v9ncxdbjsx

Amazon Print:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DSX91JH?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860

1 Like

Re: Behind Closed Doors by Ijelekhai19: 11:51pm On Aug 27, 2020
Please who has a free copy of behind closed doors.
I really wan a Read that book buh dont have cash to purchase it..
You can forward it to my email at ijelekhaiemmanuel@gmail.com If you got a copy to
Re: Behind Closed Doors by MontazReader: 12:16pm On Aug 28, 2020
Hm.
Ijelekhai19:
Please who has a free copy of behind closed doors.
I really wan a Read that book buh dont have cash to purchase it..
You can forward it to my email at ijelekhaiemmanuel@gmail.com If you got a copy to
Re: Behind Closed Doors by MontazReader: 12:18pm On Aug 28, 2020
I read this book Weeks ago. Ordered the paperback from Amazon.
KingsleyAni1993:
I received a free copy of Behind Closed Doors from the author in exchange for an honest review of same.

Blurb:

What would you do if you were a homosexual in a country where being gay is severely frowned upon and considered a taboo? What is the ultimate price to pay if you were different, gay?

Lagos playboy, son of an ex-beauty Queen; and sole heir to the Johnson fortune, Henry Johnson, is facing a stunning controversy because of his sexual orientation . . . He loves men, yet the thought disgusts him and throws him into turmoil, that is, until he encounters Phoenix, a bisexual male stripper and prostitute who is wildly ambitious and will do anything to climb the social ladder. Phoenix is the one man that opens his eyes to the taste of the forbidden fruit, to what it feels like to hold another man, to kiss another man, and to bed another man.

One taste of the forbidden gay fruit and Henry knows he's trapped. Trapped between Society's expectations, his duty to his family, and his hidden love of men. Set against the backdrop of a sprawling, decadent Lagos City, and from there to the outer edges of Eastern Nigeria, where being gay is unimaginable, a gay romance unthinkable, the consequences of being caught frighteningly debilitating and cripplingly suicidal, Behind Closed Doors is a story of hidden passions that take hold in the dark where same sex love thrives.

Henry will be forced to look deep within himself to unearth the man beneath, to make the toughest decisions of his life as it concerns Phoenix, a young man whose destiny becomes irremovably entwined in his. He will have to question everything he holds dear, everything Society has taught him. He will be forced to question his very existence.


My review:

Are you ready for an explosive novel that delves deep into the gay narrative that sets Nigerians afire? Are you ready to revisit the issue of the forbidden nature of same-sex attraction and love, against a backdrop of the country’s poverty, strive for survival and the divide between the ultra rich and the crushingly poor? If yes, then Kingsley Adrian Banks’ debut novel, Behind Closed Doors is the perfect opener to examine Nigeria’s same-sex narrative.

Behind Closed Doors is a gay fiction that centres around a character, Henry Johnson, who is the heir to the family fortune of one of Lagos’s richest, oldest and most powerful families, the ultra rich Johnsons. Growing up, Henry is besieged by the highest level of domestic violence—in the form of his father always raising fists to his mother—and that helps to shape the core of who he is. But he is deeply assailed by a horrible, crippling fear of his growing sexuality—a sexuality that is centred with frightening exclusivity on boys alone.

Coming from “rich stock”, as most Nigerians would lightly put it, he’s forced sexual experimentation with few girls, and found, to his growing chagrin, that he feels nothing for women. He remained conflicted, until he encounters a young man known only as Phoenix, with whom he explored his innate, basic desire, and found, to his utter horror, stunned pleasure, and exponential disgust, that he loves everything about the male anatomy.

Kingsley Adrian Banks wrote this book with a fresh take on the gay issue. He took the time to explore the cultural stereotypes Nigerians adopt: of the effeminate “gay” man who actually does not sexually identify as gay but as bisexual, though society has branded him gay because of his gender presentation; of the “straight-acting” masculine male who is the embodiment of the societal ideal of what a heterosexual man is, but who is hopelessly, forcefully gay but can “blend” in and pretend to be straight in order not to be stigmatized for his sexual orientation.

At times Banks’ writing is quite hefty, dark and evocative because of the pain and sorrow and hatred he manages to infuse in heavy doses throughout the entire book, but when he touched on the core aspects of his chosen themes—same-sex relationships, society’s hatred of the feminine male, and invariably the forbidden nature of same-sex relationships in Nigeria even before same was eventually criminalized by Goodluck Ebere Jonathan—his writing flashes with deep insight.

From forced heterosexual unions, to the furtive gay relationships undertaken in small doses at those times of newly introduced mobile phones into the Nigerian market, those times of Jazz in Lagos clubs and endless dancing and visits to friends and family because of the lack of telecommunications infrastructure, “Behind Closed Doors” explores the deepest and darkest part of physical relationships, especially when examined through the clouded Nigerian lens of bigotry, hatred and sanctimonious censorship.

Banks may not have lived as an adult through the Nineties in Nigeria’s Lagos, Onitsha and Calabar, but he explored the relationships and human dynamics with a timelessness that rings through even to our current times. In “Behind Closed Doors” he distinctly captured the Nigerian essence, the life as it is lived both in the affluent homes and among those with poverty threatening to crush them—all tinged with the secrecy of what literally goes on behind closed doors: the illicit affairs, the maltreatment and severe abuse meted out by husband to wife or wife to house servant, the in-bred hatred for anything not known and understood, and of course, the ever present condemnation of the public if they discovered your own sins.

Like the few other writers who have actively explored same-sex situations and relationships in full-length Nigerian novels, Banks did justice to a topic that would never die out, particularly given that Nigerians view same-sex romantic relationships with great disdain and now that same-sex romantic relationships are outlawed in Nigeria, punishable by up to fourteen years imprisonment.

In “Behind Closed Doors”, Banks explores what would have been the ordinary lives of Nigerian men, but lived through the black-tinted lens of a society angry with anything that goes against the heteronormative norm they are used. Unlike many gay fiction books, this book is frank in portraying the dark truth and reality of what it means to live gay in Nigeria, a country that views it as a serious taboo for someone to be gay; a country where gender non-conformity is viewed with suspicion, automatically branding you as a gay man or woman, even if you aren’t.

A seeming master at unmasking the deepest and darkest secrets many people live with, Banks deftly explores the double life being gay can make a person live in Lagos, while navigating the underbelly of Nigeria’s most populated city and the myriad tales it has to offer.

Simply put, “Behind Closed Doors” is a cultural narrative, showcasing things in Nigeria as-is, while offering absolutely no hopes of a better tomorrow or for love for any person who is unfortunate enough to not conform to the Nigerian Society’s demands.



Link:

https://okadabooks.com/book/about/behind_closed_doors___adult_only_18/33776

Ebook: https://paystack.com/pay/v9ncxdbjsx

Amazon Print:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DSX91JH?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860

1 Like

(1) (Reply)

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