The Death of Vivek Oji
The astonishing new novel from the author of Freshwater – Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Wellcome Book Prize
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE
‘Electrifying.’ O: The Oprah Magazine
‘Brilliant and heartbreaking.’ Marie Claire
‘Propulsive and resonant.’ Esquire
They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died.
One afternoon, a mother opens her front door to find the length of her son’s body stretched out on the veranda, swaddled in akwete material, his head on her welcome mat. The Death of Vivek Oji transports us to the day of Vivek’s birth, the day his grandmother Ahunna died. It is the story of an over protective mother and a distant father, and the heart-wrenching tale of one family’s struggle to understand their child, just as Vivek learns to recognize himself.
Teeming with unforgettable characters whose lives have been shaped by Vivek’s gentle and enigmatic spirit, it shares with us a Nigerian childhood that challenges expectations. This novel, and its celebration of the innocence and optimism of youth, will touch all those who embrace it.
What readers are saying:
‘The book is so beautifully written and I’ve never read anything like it ever before.’
‘This is a gorgeously written story of identity, sexuality, love, grief, friendship, and the need to live the life you want, even in a country where doing so might be deadly . . . This was emotional, beautiful, and so poignant, and their storytelling took my breath away.’
‘This book is both so joyful and so devastating.’
‘The way Emezi made me care so deeply about these characters was just incredible, so that when the whole truth of Vivek’s death was revealed I felt so personally affected by it. This book is about so many things all at once . . . The writing is so simple yet beautifully emotive. And I cried.’
‘FIVE HUGE STARS . . . The Death of Vivek Oji is a poignant and tantalizing novel that wraps you up in its web of characters and feeds on you with carnivorous force, all while softening your heart and mind to a world outside of the normal social constraints we have been conditioned to.’
(Goodreads reader reviews)
Emezi’s surreal prose shines… extraordinary.
This book lured me in from the first sentence. It shook me to the core. This book forges its own glorious path. Read it now. Give it to everyone you know. Read it again.
Emezi ... is an old – an ancient - storyteller: thrillingly at home in the tradition of griots, poets, seers and seekers.
As the narrative moves around in time and from viewpoint to viewpoint, Emezi offers a richly textured depiction of a middle-class community in Nigeria . . . Vividly written and deeply affecting.
A propulsive, titanic book. Emezi doesn't simply tell stories; they create genres, making new stories, new characters, feel as forever as thunder, clouds, and betrayal.
By exploring themes of loss, identity and community, Emezi reaffirms a thoughtful voice in unveiling the mystery of Vivek’s passing.
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