Entry updated 22 April 2020. Tagged: Author.
(? - ) Nigerian-born author, in UK from the age of eight, much of whose work complexly and radically narrates the immense land of her birth in terms that evoke Fantastika in general, though always on the understanding that stories told in those terms should be understood as uttered literally (stories like hers, often described in terms of Magic Realism, suffer misprision when understood as metaphorical). The bottle of palm wine found on a London street in her first novel, Butterfly Fish (2015), evoking The Palm-Wine Drinkard (1952) by Amos Tutuola (1920-1996), is not cited decoratively. Nor should Butterfly Fish's protagonist's search through time (see Time Travel) for the origin story behind an ancient Benin artifact be taken as metaphorical.
Okojie remains best-known for her short stories, which have been assembled in Speak Gigantular (coll 2016) and Nudibranch (coll 2019), and which seem radiant with juxtapositions: ghost and Aliens, from the London Underground (see Underground) to the surrealized Easter Island in "Dune Dunelm" (from Nudibranch) which serves as a psychic tympanum broadcasting and/or manifesting the inner life of a visitor. "Filamo" (also Nudibranch) again invokes Time Travel, in this case effected by monks exploiting Wormholes in their search for artifacts, while monitored by various saints in Time Police roles. The controlled feverishness of her work, and its geographical and psychic range, mark Okojie as an author tuned to render the world to come. [JC]
- Butterfly Fish (London: Jacaranda Books, 2015) [hb/]
collections and stories
- Speak Gigantular (London: Jacaranda Books, 2016) [coll: pb/]
- Nudibranch (London: Dialogue Books, 2019) [coll: hb/]
previous versions of this entry