Nnedi Okorofor’s Who Fears Death was my reading choice for my trip around NZ and the setting couldn’t have been more different as I was driving through the snow capped passes and the wide glacier lakes of the New Zealand countryside.
I loved this novel. It’s a beautiful mix of science fiction (set in a post-apocalyptic world) and fantasy (where magic or juju abounds) set in the dry, open spaces of Africa. It explores race, class and gender through a plot that is reviting and with characters that will stay in my mind for a long time.
Onyesonwu was conceived in violence and people know as soon as they look at her as her appearance marks her as Ewu. As an Ewu, she is viewed as having a violent nature and (depending on which town she visits) is considered abhorrent and inhuman because of it.
My favourite character has to be Luyu. Her strength of character is incredible, even when she’s frightened and well and truly out of her comfort zone.The relationships between all the characters are complex and ring true, bound up through shared history and emotions, especially jealously and loyalty.
The ending is a little odd. We’re left with multiple conclusions that contradict each other, and as the story is entirely told from Onye’s perspective (except the epilogue), we need to take into consideration the reliability of the narrator.
This is my first foray into the writings of the amazingingly talented Nnedi Okorofor, and I look forward to reading more. Definitely add this writer to your must look out for list, and add Who Fears Death to your reading pile right now!