“SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR URGENT HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE/BUSINESS PROPOSAL
I DO NOT COME TO YOU BY CHANCE. UPON MY REQUEST FOR A TRUSTED AND RELIABLE FOREIGN BUSINESSMAN OR COMPANY, I WAS GIVEN THE CONTACT BY THE NIGERIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY. I HOPE THAT YOU CAN BE TRUSTED TO HANDLE A TRANSACTION OF THIS MAGNITUDE….”
We’ve all received them at some point. Irksome, melodramatic emails, usually containing woebegone tall tales that spout wildly unsubstantiated claims. The emails typically conclude by stating something along the lines of “If you pay a £25.000 deposit into this international account you will receive a cut of 25 billion US dollars.” Even to the non discerning eye such an email must seem preposterous, however the scams are increasing in their sophistication. Having narrowly escaped being the victim of fraud on eBay myself (yes I was almost caught out – don’t judge me!) the subject matter of this book certainly piqued my interest. “They were just a bunch of email addresses with no real people at the end anyway. Besides, who on this earth would be stupid enough to fall prey to an email from a stranger in Nigeria?” Who indeed?
The novel is a gem of contemporary African literature. My only criticism would be that Nwaubani spends a too much time in establishing the background of the protagonist and his family. Cash Daddy’s 419 empire is merely hinted at in the opening 200 pages and it takes almost half the book before Kingsley becomes fully immersed in this criminal world. Nonetheless Nwaubani’s charm, charisma and ability to endear the characters to the reader more than makes up for the prolonged introduction. Although you can’t help but question the validity of the defence of the fraudster when confronted, you find yourself ultimately rooting for their success. I do not come to you by chance is definitely worth the read.