Book Review: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

How would I describe this book with one word? Unique.

Lagoon is set in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, where an alien invasion in Lagos Lagoon causes the fate of three individuals to intersect and be changed forever.

I didn’t know what I was going to when I decided to buy Lagoon. By happenstance I ended up talking to the owner of a small feminist indie book shop in Oslo, Norway, during one of their pop up sales on the west coast and by the time I left from there I had Lagoon in my hand. It came highly recommended, the blurb intrigued me, and the cover caught my eye. I also try to make an effort to read much and to read widely – and I know that if I just read what ends up falling into my hands, it’s almost always white men. So I knew I had to have this.

Okorafor writes with a passion, for the lack of a better word, that I don’t recall seeing in any other author. Her words, her style, the way she tells the story is hard and fast. Brutal, almost. It’s a different but exciting thing to read. Things move fast, things are told in a different way than what I’m used to. I like it.

She also puts a lot of herself into her writing. There’s culture. Religion. Passion, people and atmosphere. I felt that I wasn’t just reading a book, I was also experiencing a whole new type of story telling. It’s intriguing and like I said in the beginning: unique.

Unfortunately, the story isn’t very good. The alien invasion is strange, incomplete and sometimes boring. It’s never explained, never given center stage and never resolved. All of the characters appeared to be bystanders in their own stories, and none of them were fleshed out. By the end of the book I felt like the author just got tired of writing and decided to end it.

This is an interesting book, with brilliant and captivating writing – I just wish the story managed to pull me in as much as the words that told it did. Because that part, the actual writing was a breath of fresh air.

I’ll keep a look out for Okorafor. I feel like maybe I’ll enjoy some of her other works more than I could this.

What have you read recently? Something excellent or something else? Any weird mix ups like me, where the writing caught you but not the story? Let me know in the comments!

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