“Emezi has a gift for prose that is often as visceral, tender and heartbreaking as what it describes. . . . While the novel sets out to solve the mystery of Oji’s death, what gives it power is how it uncovers the story of a person shielded by the peace of self-acceptance against the pain of the world. Here is proof of what good fiction does best: it is an antidote to invisibility.”


Just finished The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi. Audio book version.
The story takes place n Nigeria. Vivek is dead at the beginning of the story, and his story unfolds in flashbacks as his cousins tell Vivek’s story to us.
Vivek was a young man with a dark secret that he had to keep from his parents. Nigeria is not a place where you can be different from the norm without suffering the consequences.
The story slowly unravels like a mystery. How did he die and why. The parents want answers, and obviously someone has those answers.

The story is heartbreaking at times, especially as Vivek was truly loved by all. The fact that the climate in the country can be very dangerous to people who are different adds to the sadness as Vivek, and those who are like him, have little chance at living a peaceful life in the way that they want to.
The book is narrated by Yetide Badaki and Chukwudi Iwuji. The both do a very good job. Recommended!


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 5th February 2021

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Richard Franco