This first person account of a sojourn in Africa is a novel about culture shock and personal growth. Greg, a twenty-three-year-old Australian, arrives in Ibadan, Nigeria, racked by multiple unresolved dilemmas from home. He brings, as well, his sense of adventure and the energy of youth.
Oblivious at first to the mismatch between his ambition to make a contribution to the world and his counter-productive inner rankling and sexual fantasies, he hopes nevertheless to create a worthwhile future for himself. This hope is at best subliminal when the novel begins, and Africa proves a dangerous arena for the playing-out of inner struggles. He establishes a superficially normal life anyway – a job and charitable activities, friendships with Nigerians Paul and Harry, American Hank, Englishman Jeremy, and Ghanaian Aloitius, and a love affair with Irish Mary – but fails, initially at least, to connect with these. His simultaneous pursuit of empty pleasures and ritual atonements proves psychologically destructive, as the paradox between his addiction to sex with anonymous black prostitutes, and his growing appreciation of the poverty and desperation of the Nigerians he encounters, comes under his own relentless scrutiny One friendship in particular – with the optimistic Hank, who is gay – helps rescue Greg from self-destruction, as they share the painful discordance of a double life, a predicament Hank understands better than most. The story charts Greg's changing view of himself, of Africa, and of Australia. Events unfold with the messy shapelessness of actual life, while the inner story of his altering engagement with the world has a distinct beginning, middle and ultimately transformational end. ‘Original and brave, about serious matters but done with a light touch. People interested in literary writing will surely fall upon it with pleasure.’ Helen Elliott. ‘Smoothness in the flow of prose and real power in the imagery make this a powerful reading experience. The author is both an excellent writer and an impressive thinker.’ Sean Doyle ‘An exciting work, big, bold and ambitious. The prose is confident and at times so lyrical it is utterly seductive.’ Lynk Manuscript Assessment Services (formerly the Australian Book Council) ‘The strongest element of the story is probably Africa herself. The author brings her alive with great vividness in all her beauty, terror and tragedy.’ Jan Scherpenhuizen ‘Highly original, very interesting and beautifully written throughout. The author has a real talent for establishing a sense of place.’ Alex Norris About the author: Peter Wigg is an Australian psychiatrist who has worked for extended periods in Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Iraq and Jordan, and visited hospitals and development projects in India and Sri Lanka. He has a lifelong interest in transcultural issues. In England in the 1980s he became a university lecturer and worked in student health services. Subsequently, as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in Melbourne, he took a particular interest in the efforts towards self-realisation of disaffected young adults from diverse cultural backgrounds. These parallel interests – in developing countries and in the personal development of young Australians – inform his writing. He edited a student magazine at university, and has published journal articles and numerous conference papers during his career. He is respected as a teacher, and for several years provided talks on mental health topics for community radio. He began creative writing in the 1990s, attending courses at Holmesglen TAFE where his teachers included authors Alex Miller and Jenny Dabbs. He has had two short stories published in Quadrant – selected by Literary Editor Les Murray – and a short play staged successfully in Melbourne. The View from Ibadan is his first novel, and he is currently writing a second one set in the Middle East.