Visit our spring store! Shop now >>

For more great books from Algonquin, visit

I Am Still With You

A Reckoning with Silence, Inheritance, and History

By Emmanuel Iduma

Already known as a gorgeous literary stylist and keen-eyed art critic, Emmanuel Iduma unfurls his inimitable, rhythmic prose to tell the story of his return to Nigeria, where he grew up, after years of living in New York. Though prompted in part by a family wedding and the death of his father, he had an urgent, elusive mission, as well: to learn the fate of his uncle Emmanuel, his namesake, who disappeared in the Nigerian Civil War in the late 60s. A conflict that left so many families broken, the war remains at the margins of the history books, almost taboo to discuss, so Iduma must stop in city after city throughout the Biafran region, reconnecting with relatives dear and distant to probe their memories, stopping at university libraries to furtively photo copy illicit books, and visiting half-abandoned monuments along the highway. And perhaps, if he can understand how his father grieved the loss of his brother, Iduma might learn how to grieve his father, in turn.   
Equal parts memoir, national history, and political reckoning, this is a story of loss and grief, both deeply personal and collective. It’s the story of countless families across the country and across the world who will never have answers or proper funerals for their loved ones. It’s a story about the birth of an artist, about writing itself as an act both healing and political, even dangerous. But it’s also a classic story of repeated history – how a country that never healed from its fissures decades ago is now seeing the same political agitations roiling again. Underground political groups are clamoring for a new Biafran revolution today, and Iduma must determine whether there’s a place for him in that movement. How much of his identity is wrapped up in this history? What does it mean to return home, when home was always more about a person than a place? 

Read more

Shipping to the U.S. only. Please see our International FAQ for more information.

Books also available at
Meet the Author
Emmanuel Iduma headshot

Emmanuel Iduma

More about the author
Review quotes
Named a Best Book of 2023 by Vulture and a  Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by The Republic
“Traveling through Nigeria, Emmanuel Iduma confronts and contemplates the wounds left by the Biafran war: death on a mass scale; deaths in his family; griefs, angers and questions that still plague the living. I Am Still With You is both epic and intimate. It gives us the beauties and consolations of an ethnical imagination.”
— Margo Jefferson, author of Constructing a Nervous System
"I Am Still With You by Emmanuel Iduma is a lyrical investigation into the nature of being, history, the collective memory of Biafra—a dark chapter in world history. Iduma writes with such startling clarity that the book ultimately becomes both powerful and transcendent."
— Chigozie Obioma, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of The Fishermen and An Orchestra of Minorities
"This adroitly crafted work seeks closure for 'a generation that has to lift itself from the hushes and gaps of the history of the war.'”
— The New Yorker, "The Best Books We Read This Week"
“Quietly brilliant…Iduma blends travelogue, reportage, criticism, memoir, and history in a hypnotic tale…What emerges is both an argument for narrative that resembles life — narrative that refuses to hew to the conventions of genre for the sake of it — and a subtle critique of the idea of genre itself.”
— Vulture
“An expansive book…Through a skillful structure and expressive prose, I Am Still With You brings together probing philosophical questions about inheritance, cogent historical and political concerns…inventive, tender, and all its own.”
— Lucy McKeon, The Millions
“In I Am Still With You, Iduma meets the lacunae of his uncle’s life head on, in turn confronting other painful absences within his family with a thoughtful introspection, using history, literature, the archive, and vivid encounters from everyday life to make a path across the abyss.”
— Los Angeles Review of Books / LARB Radio Hour
“An often moving account of his consciously unsystematic journey through the former Biafra region, from conversations with close and distant relatives to chance encounters. Increasingly less interested in how and whether ‘the different fragments of the story fit together,' Mr. Iduma learns that he can go home again — and immerse himself in an ‘Igbo melody.’”
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A bold, poignant tale of speaking into the silence of history.’”
— Shelf Awareness
I Am Still with You is filled with such echo of loss, of longing, so much that before you are halfway in, the mood envelopes you. It takes skill to deploy this in a way that is not easily seen on-page but is instead felt.”
— Open Country Mag
“A poignant story rescued from…silences and lacunae. A powerful contribution to modern Nigerian history, particularly significant in an age of ethnic conflict around the world.”
— Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*
“Searching war-scarred Biafra for traces of his uncle, a writer grapples with gaps in his family’s history and his own bifurcated identity… [Iduma’s] contemplative, poetic search brings him closer to his wife Ayobami and reminds him that his life remains inseparable from the history of his homeland.”
— Booklist
“An immersive memoir… throughout, Iduma reflects on the power of family to both unite and divide…Iduma’s unravelling of the past is bound to leave readers eager to uncover their own family secrets.”
— Publishers Weekly
“[A] haunting new memoir… Those interested in personal stories about Nigeria will likely enjoy this book.”
— Library Journal
“His contemplative, poetic search brings him closer to his wife Ayobami and reminds him that his life remains inseparable from the history of his homeland.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“In this melange of reportage and memoir, Iduma sets out to learn more about his uncle, and by extension his family.”
— BuzzFeed
“In clear, elegiac prose, Iduma’s search leads to an affecting conclusion.”
— The New Statesman
“A precious and lucid account on an event which is still insufficiently covered in the African media.”
— The African Book Review
“A vital recollection.”
— OkayAfrica
“His narrative captures the poetry of living and dying. Its language, with its ability to transport me through time and across space, beckoned me to travel.”
— Brittle Paper
“A genre-defying work, I Am Still with You is a quest, both spiritual and real, a travelogue, a memoir, and a history of Biafra. It is a requiem to war’s unburied and unsung. It is a record of a writer’s mind grappling with the consequences of a national and personal loss. Acutely observed, hauntingly rendered, and deeply affecting—a masterful achievement.”
— Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness and The Window Seat
“Like Manthia Diawara's In Search of Africa, Emmanuel Iduma's story of a nation's making—and unmaking—is rooted in a personal search for a lost individual. I Am Still With You is a moving account of a return, and a profound, elegiac plea for recognition of both the living and the dead. A compelling, sharply-observed story of discovery, beautifully paced and haunting in its details.” 
— Amitava Kumar, author of A Time Outside This Time and Immigrant, Montana
“To the daughter of a Nigerian man, long gone, this book shines a light through the silent fog that shrouded our past. It is a gift of understanding, for me and countless others.”
— Rachel Edwards, author of Darling
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
February 21, 2023