The Mechanics of Yenagoa

(7 customer reviews)



Ebinimi, star mechanic of Kalakala Street, is a man with a hapless knack for getting in and out of trouble. Some of his troubles are self-inflicted: like his recurring entanglements in love triangles; and his unauthorised joyriding of a customer’s car which sets off a chain of dire events involving drugs, crooked politicians, and assassins. Other troubles are caused by the panorama of characters in his life, like: his sister and her dysfunctional domestic situation; the three other mechanics he employs; and the money-loving preacher who has all but taken over his home.

The story is fast-paced with surprising twists and a captivating plot – a Dickenesque page-turner. This is Ebinimi’s story but it is about a lot more than him. It is an exploration of the dynamics between working-class people as they undertake a colourful tour of Yenagoa, one of Nigeria’s lesser-known cities, while using humour, sex, and music, as coping mechanisms for the everyday struggle.

It is a modern-classic tale of small lives navigating a big city.

About Author

A writer, social commentator and public intellectual, Michael Afenfia doesn’t believe in boundaries. He has crisscrossed genres in his writing and is never afraid of trying out new things.

Although a lawyer by training with years of experience in banking and in the public service, writing has always been his passion.

So far, he has authored a number of critically acclaimed novels: When the Moon Caught Fire (2010), A Street Called Lonely (2011), Don’t Die on Wednesday (2014), and Paxoid (2016) which he co-authored with his teenage son, Biboye.

Between 2014 and 2016, he served as Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Bayelsa State Chapter. He currently resides in Canada with his family, but continues to mentor young creatives in Nigeria.

7 reviews for The Mechanics of Yenagoa

  1. Avatar

    Rebel Reviewer

    The Mechanics of Yenegoa by Michael Afenfia: A Review.

    Biodun, leave that thing. You when no dey go church sef, yet na you like to dey form holy pass. Make I tell you, God can bless anybody any which way. The same God when turn water to wine can turn pant to Benz.

    Michael Afenfia’s “The Mechanics of Yenegoa” is rip-roaringly hilarious, belly-deep laughter inducing, and chest-achingly funny. I laughed so much while reading the book that my partner told me they were going to leave me so I could marry the author (I’m not even kidding). Mechanics of Yenegoa takes us on a vivid journey to the small but thriving city of Yenegoa where mechanic Ebinimi is either the most inept of individuals or the most guileless “guy-man” to ever walk the streets of the notorious south-south of Nigeria.

    The book begins innocuously with a staged pregnancy and from then on it simply… doesn’t… stop! Ebinimi, his sister Ebiakpo and his host of mechanic sidekicks present the most colorful characters I have seen on the pages of a novel in a very long while. Through Ebinimi’s fortunes and misfortunes the writer paints a brilliant satire on the Nigerian society and its denizens be they religious leaders, politicians or small time thugs eager for a piece of the “national cake”.

    One of the best things about this book is the characterization. Each character is an individual, who has a distinct voice, a distinct personality that shines through even without introductions and they grow, so gloriously throughout the development of the plot no matter how little their roles are. The characters are believable and more than that they are absolutely lovable. The reader finds themselves rooting for them no matter how badly they screw up through the pages. The main character “Ebinimi” changes quite a bit, matures, if you will, but some fundamental aspects of his attitude remain throughout. Not only does the writer get high praise from this humble Reviewer for his creation but he also gets accolades for creating a character whose unfailing optimism is unflappable even in the face of certain doom. He represents quite artfully the spirit of Nigerians the world over, that “e go better” attitude that drives the average Nigerian every day.

    More than anything this book is completely believable. For literature, there always seems to be the requirement of suspending disbelief but with “The Mechanics of Yenegoa” that is unnecessary. The structure of the book is simple, divided into deliciously bite size chapters that move so smoothly the reader is almost unaware of the transitions. Simple language, threaded with colorful Warri slangs that amuse. Sex, money, politics and religion often times side by side with the ‘mundaneness’ of everyday living serves a titillating feast for the reader. All of that, with Yenegoa somehow fixing itself as a city with heart and excess in equal measure while it provides the perfect backdrop as events unfold.

    The day I find a perfect book is the day I stop reading. For “The Mechanics of Yenegoa” I felt cheated by the end. While I don’t love giving spoilers so I can’t tell you exactly what the end was, I can say that I could not shake the feeling that the end was an easy way out for the Author. Endings are usually either my favorite thing in the world or my worst and this conclusion is definitely on the naughty list. Dear Author, while you are in fact god in this scenario don’t be a cruel one? We only like the benevolent ones. Ebinimi deserves much better.

    Another thing was that the book read a little episodically, considering the origins of the plot as episodes on a blog, this makes sense. This isn’t exactly a bad thing. If you are a reader on the go, squeezing in time to read in-between tasks this is a great thing even. The plot could be split into maybe three novelettes but it does not detract from the fluidity of the story in any way but does make continuity a little erratic.

    Here come the most important questions.
    Should you buy the book? Yes.
    When is the best time to read the book? Whenever you’re in need of a good laugh.
    4.5 out of 5 stars easily, this book has my heart.

  2. Avatar

    Ojuolape Eyitayo

    I read The Mechanics of Yenagoa as a blog series every other week on Michael Afenfia’s blog. It is a SUPERB read. As a book, it would not fall short!

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    Whenever I see this book, I see Saka, my favourite character. Saka brought so much comic relief that we some times could forget the protagonist, Ebinimi whose life was riddled with trouble. The series ended on Michael’s blog in 2019, but it still rings fresh in my head.

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    Arabina Ebizimo

    Everything and Anything by Michael Afenfia is a must read, he is smooth with words, unique and never a boring writer. The Mechanics of Yenagoa is a must read for everyone.

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    Seike Micheal Akpos

    The mechanic of yenagoa it’s an amazing story and I love it

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    I feel like this book is gonna be a great piece , I hope to get it soon.

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    ‘Rain can never know’ one of his great books….I can’t wait to read this to

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Author: Michael Afenfia