Friday, June 20, 2014

"A uniquely Lagosian delight"

Lagoon by Nnedi Okarafor

So what's it about?

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

At its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together – and the things that make us human

In a word, it was... Original*

It is difficult to imagine a different kind of alien invasion story when there are so many that have already been written but Nnedi Okarafor has created just that with Lagoon. Set in the ordinary chaos of Lagos, this sci-fi/magic realism epic tells the story of three extraordinary people and the aliens who descend on the waters of Lagos. Soon, the city is burning as friends turn against each other, monsters like Mami Wata walks among soldiers and street children, and the streets are more alive and dangerous then ever. Lagoon is the most original novel (African or not) that I have read in some time. A uniquely Lagosian delight.

*This review originally appeared on BooksLive here.