Vamba Sherif’s ‘Bound to Secrecy’ Is Masterful Storytelling
In 2012, The Economist Magazine’s style blog, Prospero, featured an essay titled “War and Peace in Monrovia: Where is Liberia’s Tolstoy?”. The essay was written by a journalist who visited Liberia for research on a magazine feature about an ex-warlord running for president. While in Freetown, during what he explains was an unexpected amount of free time, he began to read Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The essay then becomes an exposition of writer’s annoyance with his stay in Liberia, with the usual jabs at the weather, lack of book stores, devastated infrastructure and other issues typical to traveller’s Facebook updates. The author’s main complaint, however, was that Liberia lacked a writer who had made a successful attempt at publishing an epic-length civil-war era narrative, and to a lesser extent, competent writers in general; these failures, he argued, was indicative of the trajectory of the country and the psychology of its people.