In a far future, post-nuclear-holocaust Africa, genocide plagues one region. The aggressors, the Nuru, have decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke. But when the only surviving member of a slain Okeke village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert.
She gives birth to a baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand and instinctively knows that her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means "Who Fears Death?" in an ancient African tongue.
Reared under the tutelage of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers her magical destiny - to end the genocide of her people. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to grapple with nature, tradition, history, true love, the spiritual mysteries of her culture - and eventually death itself.
"Okorafor examines a host of evils in her chillingly realistic tale—gender and racial inequality share top billing, along with female genital mutilation and complacency in the face of destructive tradition—and winds these disparate concepts together into a fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling." (Publishers Weekly)
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- Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
Don't miss this one!
Powerful, absorbing, refreshing
When Onyesonwu, Luyu, and Mwita take shelter in the "haunted" cave
Yes, I have listened to Anne Flosnik's narration of Robin Hobb's Rail Wilds trilogy. To be honest, I found her narration of those novels quite irritating, and thought she did a much better job with Who Fears Death. But, see my additional comments, below.
So many—Onyesonwu's friendship with the blacksmith, who became her stepfather; Aro's decision to teach Onye; the reconciliation between Onye and her friends Luyu, Diti, and Binta (you'll know which one I mean); Mwita's declaration of ifunanya; etc. etc.!
Anne Flosnik did a good job with the "African" accent she adopted for this novel. However, I disagree with the producer's decision to ask it of her. There's no reason Onyesonwu needs to sound like (a white person's idea of) what an African sounds like when they are just learning to speak English. I could understand it better if there were non-African or native English-speaking characters in the novel, from whom Onyesonwu needed to be distinguished; but that is not the case. All the accent does is perpetuate the idea that fantasy/sci-fi novels dealing with non-Western cultures/settings are foreign and strange. Put another way: If you were to read this novel, you would "hear" Onyesonwu in your head speaking with your own voice/accent. I can't help thinking Okorafor would prefer that kind of reader-character identification to the "othering" effect created by Flosnik's artificially imposed "black African" accent.
- Marian Makins