Author: Akwaeke Emezi
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Book Description: What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?
One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.
Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: Hands down, this is one of the best books I have read this year. The writing is so simple, for this very complex story of love, family and friendship. Set in Nigeria, told through multiple narrators, a very nuanced story comes to life.
From the beginning we know Vivek Oji has died, but the mystery behind this death, is how or why? The story goes back and forth fluidly between, the days after Vivek died and years prior. Vivek has had an extremely complicated life that he has hidden from his parents, but as he gets more comfortable with himself, he surrounds himself with a group, that will do what they can to protect him.
This is a really hard book to write a review, because there is so many layers, and I want you all to have a wonderful reading experience and not give any spoilers. I will say, this is a book I was hesitant to pick up, but in the end this was meant to be, and I will be thinking of this book for a long time.