|The Last Carver is both the story a people and the story of every society.
While the Igbo people accept the inevitability of death, Omenka’s death is a huge blow for his people because it happens at a bad time. All the villages are to present a mask at the Ilo Uta Festival, but Umuokwe village is now left without a presentable mask and stand a chance of being a laughing stock when all the villages gather. Now, they do not know who to blame for this catastrophe; the gods for not picking someone else like Okongwu who defiled Adamma, the maiden masquerade or Omenka, for dying at the wrong time to die.
In addition to portraying the consequent confusion into which the people are thrown, the author, through the eyes of Mgbirimba Atuegwu shows us the intricacies of life and living in Umuokwe – a microcosm for Easter Nigeria in the early days of colonialism.
While taking us through all the convolutions and beautiful complexities that hold a traditional Igbo society together, both Mgbirimgba and the author make sure that we never lose sight of their hypotheses. First, we must never trivialise the importance of and must always strive for culture continuity. Second, bequeathing one’s knowledge or craft to posterity is a fundamental aspect of culture continuity.