Now optioned as a TV series for HBO, with executive producer George R. R. Martin!
An award-winning literary author enters the world of magical realism with her World Fantasy Award-winning novel of a remarkable woman in post-apocalyptic Africa.
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 conception. She is Ewu—a child of rape who is expected to live a life of violence, a half-breed rejected by her community. 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 learns why she was given the name she bears: Who Fears Death.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Weaving together imaginative science fiction, African folklore, and the brutal realities of the South Sudanese Civil War, Nnedi Okorafor’s first novel for adults is a stunning shock to the system. Onyesonwu—an ostracized girl born to a woman who was violently raped—embarks on a coming-of-age quest through a postapocalyptic East African country, looking to fulfill an ancient prophecy related to her newfound, daunting powers of sorcery. Historically sensitive yet resolutely futuristic, Who Fears Death is a powerful, humane, and inspiring tale of survival in the face of earth-shattering adversity.
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.
Fantasy can be literature
Which this story demonstrates. A great novel of amazing creativity.
I’m in awe!
This story will remain with me for years to come. Onyesonwu’s story is powerful, tragic, and enchanting at once. Though the topics contained can be triggering, the author gives you the truest view of human nature, allowing you to process violence and horror instead of absorbing it. Binti bright me here and I cannot wait yo read more!
Such an original, heartbreaking, yet beautiful story!!