ContemporaryThe Death Of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

The Death Of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi


The skill of the author is astounding. The greatest achievement is building a compelling and paced plot that keeps the reader so interested when the ending is already known, which takes considerable technique. 

I didn’t expect to love this as much as I did. The character building is phenomenal. The vivid potrayal of life in a country and within a culture that is so different but felt so familiar, the inherent humanity depicted was striking, the complexity and layers of the people utterly captivating. 

Set in a Nigerian village, Vivek is raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother. In a conservative, religious community, queer identity is a challenging concept and the story delicately portrays this so brutally. 

Emezi’s lyrical prose is visceral, tender and heartbreaking, exploring the importance of bodies societally and individually. 

This is a heart wrenching tale trauma of invisibility: “If nobody sees you, are you still there?” Oji asks. I loved every word.

~ Chaya

The Death of Vivek Oji; wow, this book is an emotional rollercoaster. I was near to tears at points in this tale of identity, community and society — and what happens when our truest self poses a challenge to what we have always known and held close.

There is just *so* much in here and whilst it is so relevant in terms of the skill and power with which it handles incredibly important topics, including gender and mental health, it runs deeper in it’s incredible portrayal of the most intense type of love. Vivek’s relationship with his cousin Osita is conveyed with real skill and it is one that encompasses friendship, family and passion, in a truly unforgettable way. The same goes for his ties to his own parents; the unconditional love and the complications surrounding that are memorable and genuinely thought provoking. 

Ultimately, you’ll know what happens in this book as soon as you read the title. Vivek’s life will be cut short yet you will wonder why. But this is so *so*much more than that. A remarkable and dazzling book, on so many levels.

~ Sophie 

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