Synopses & Reviews
International award-winning Nnedi Okorafor enters the world of magical realist literature with a powerful story of genocide in the far future and the woman who reshapes her world.
In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways, yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different--special--she names her Onyesonwu, which means "Who fears death?" in an ancient language. It doesn't take long for Onye to understand that she is physically and socially marked by the circumstances of her violent conception.
She is Ewu--a child of rape who is expected to live a life of violence, a half-breed rejected by both tribes. But Onye is not the average Ewu. Even as a child, she manifests the beginnings of a remarkable and unique magic. As she grows, so do her abilities, and during an inadvertent visit to the spirit realm she learns something terrifying: Someone powerful is trying to kill her.
Desperate to elude her would-be murderer and to understand her own nature, she embarks on a journey in which she grapples with nature, tradition, history, true love, and the spiritual mysteries of her culture, and ultimately teaches her why she was given the name she bears: Who Fears Death.
"Well-known for young adult novels (The Shadow Speaks; Zahrah the Windseeker), Okorafor sets this emotionally fraught tale in postapocalyptic Saharan Africa. The young sorceress Onyesonwu whose name means 'Who fears death?' was born Ewu, bearing a mixture of her mother's features and those of the man who raped her mother and left her for dead in the desert. As Onyesonwu grows into her powers, it becomes clear that her fate is mingled with the fate of her people, the oppressed Okeke, and that to achieve her destiny, she must die. 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. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Praise for Nnedi Okorafor's award-winning Who Fears Death
"A fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling." —Publisher's Weekly
"Beautifully written, this is dystopian fantasy at its very best. Expertly exploring issues of race, gender, and cultural identity, Okorafor blends future fantasy with the rhythm and feel of African storytelling." —Library Journal
"To compare author Nnedi Okorafor to the late Octavia E. Butler would be easy to do, but this simple comparison should not detract from Okorafors unique storytelling gift." —New York Journal of Books
"Her pacing is tight. Her expository sections sing like poetry. Descriptions of paranormal people and battles are disturbingly vivid and palpable. But most crucial to the book's success is how the author slowly transforms Onye's pursuit of her rapist father from a personal vendetta to a struggle to transform the social systems that created him." —The Village Voice
"Both wondrously magical and terribly realistic." —The Washington Post
Read Nnedi Okorafor's posts on the Penguin Blog.
An award-winning literary author presents her first foray into supernatural fantasy with a novel of post- apocalyptic Africa.
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.
An award-winning literary author ("The Shadow Speaker") presents her first foray into supernatural fantasy with a novel of post-apocalyptic Africa.
The critically-acclaimed novel-now in paperback.
In a far-future, post-apocalyptic Saharan Africa, genocide plagues one region. When the only surviving member of a slain 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 her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means "Who Fears Death?" in an ancient African tongue.
Reared under the tutelege of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers she possesses a remarkable and unique magic. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to confront nature, tradition, history, the spiritual mysteries of her culture, and eventually to learn why she was given the unusual name she bears: Who Fears Death?
A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell
The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafors powerful, memorable, superhuman women.
Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New Yorks Tower 7. She is an accelerated woman”only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenixs abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.
Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.
But Phoenixs escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanitys future.
About the Author
Nnedi Okorafor was born in the United States to two Igbo (Nigerian) immigrant parents. She holds a PhD in English and is a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University. She has been the winner of many awards for her short stories and young adult books, and won a World Fantasy Award for Who Fears Death. Nnedi's books are inspired by her Nigerian heritage and her many trips to Africa. She lives in Chicago with her daughter Anyaugo and family. She can be contacted via her website, www.nnedi.com.