Who fears death Nnedi Okorafor
So I read this book and was carried into worlds and realms that I could have never imagined. Nnedi Okorafor is an amazing writer, her way with words is extraordinary . She weaves beautiful tales and it feels like she takes you the reader by the hand and walks- often flies you through this beautiful,mystical yet agonizing life journey of a young woman named Onyesonwu- which translates to-‘who fears death’.
It is a beautiful story- as much ‘beautiful’ a story about rape, war and retribution in a post – apocalyptic environment could be. It is also a story about love, loyalty and friendship.
The author shows you the raw, unflinchingly graphic detail of Onye’s conception. Intentionally highlighting the weaponization of rape in conflict/war situations. I would be lying if I said I couldn’t put this book down- I had to many times to recover and reset myself to reading again. I had nightmares – maybe I am sensitive but wow!
Her women characters are strong, powerful,and purpose -filled. Onyesonwu the main character is as intriguing and beautiful as could be. She is solid in her motivation and often comes across or is rather perceived as ‘willful’ especially by the male characters. The author’s portrayal of how patriarchal mindsets are entrenched even in and especially in war is so real and jarring- you feel Onyesonwu’s frustrations as she fights to learn / earn her destined path from her male ‘guides’ who still seem to at the best of times hold her back. She battles with acceptance not only due to her conception but also her ‘racial ambiguity ‘ as an ‘Ewu’ and the special powers she has.
Her mother Najeeba is amazing ,she ‘survived ‘ her rape ordeal and carried Onye and birthed her alone in the desert despite being exiled and reviled for having a child conceived from violence. I felt her character could have had a stronger presence- she was in the background. I felt there was so much more about her that was whispered throughout the book and not necessarily strongly put forward which I found unfortunate. Onye’s friendships with other women are beautifully crafted- each woman ‘s personality is presented well . The entire storyline is driven by Onye’s sole purpose to end the vicious bloodshed between the Nuru and the Okeke peoples. Onye’s love story with Mwita was interesting – annoyingly codependent in most parts. His role confused me at times- did she really need a love interest?
In all the heaviness there’s light and humor and magical scenes that truly transport you the reader.
I loved this book. It deserves to be read again and again. It was truly a magnificent and magical read. I wholeheartedly recommend it. 10/10