Monday, August 24, 2020

Book Review: "The Death of Vivek Oji" by Akwaeke Emeze

The Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emeze's newest novel, is easily one of the best, most powerful books I’ve read all year.

One day in Nigeria a woman finds the body of her son, Vivek, on the porch of their house, wrapped in colorful fabric. It appears he has been beaten to death.

Vivek’s parents are grief-stricken, but while his father accepts that these things might happen in a country torn by violence, his mother is desperate to understand what happened to her son. She saw him that morning and craves to understand the events that followed.

Vivek was a gentle soul, a free spirit who felt chained by a world that sought to define him. He only felt comfortable letting his guard down with his friends, the daughters of the Nigerwives, a group of foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. And he was closest to Osita, his cousin, who found himself inexplicably drawn to Vivek.

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. It’s also a story of a mother desperate to understand her child.

I haven’t read Akwaeke Emeze’s other books yet, Freshwater and Pet, but I definitely will now. This was emotional, beautiful, and so poignant, and their storytelling took my breath away.

I won’t forget this one anytime soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment