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What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?
One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son's body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family's struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek's closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens--and Osita struggles to understand Vivek's escalating crisis--the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.
Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations--a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.
"Dazzling." --Los Angeles Times
"Extraordinarily powerful." --Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker
"Remarkable and daring." --The New York Times Book Review
Akwaeke Emezi was born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria, and is a writer and visual artist based in liminal spaces. They are the author of 6 novels, including PET (2019 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, Stonewall Honor recipient, and a Lambda Literary Award winner.) and FRESHWATER (2019 Otherwise Award winner, Finalist for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, and recipient of the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction). Emezi was a 2018 National Book Foundation '5 Under 35' honoree. and was also photographed by Annie Leibovitz and profiled in the February 2018 issue of Vogue Magazine. Their video art series THE UNBLINDING premiered at Gavin Brown's enterprise in Harlem. Their short story 'Who Is Like God' won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa. Their writing has also been published by T Magazine, Dazed Magazine, The Cut, Buzzfeed, Granta Online, Vogue.com, and Commonwealth Writers, among others.
Carla Bruce-Eddings is a former middle and high school teacher and is now a Senior Publicist at Catapult, Counterpoint Press, and Soft Skull Press, and freelance writer living in Brooklyn. She writes about the intersections of motherhood, race, and pop culture. A voracious reader, she's also the books editor at Well-Read Black Girl, and co-organizer of its inaugural festival in the fall of 2017. Her essay, “Amazing Grace,” is published in the anthology Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Voices, Discovering Ourselves, edited by book club founder Glory Edim.