30 January 2014

Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor


The start of a new term and then a huge computer disaster caused me not to post a link here to my review of Nnedi Okorafor's first short story collection, Kabu Kabu, which Strange Horizons recently published. Here, for anyone who missed it and is interested, it is. The first paragraph, to give you a sense of it all:
Nnedi Okorafor's first short story collection begins and ends with tales that evoke histories and challenge orthodoxies. "The Magical Negro" liberates an unfortunate cliché of fantasy fiction to go his own way, and so plants a sign in the narrative ground to let us know that these journeys, though fantastical, will seek some roads less traveled. "The Palm Tree Bandit" (first published here at Strange Horizons in 2000) reconfigures a different sort of mythos, shaking up the cartography of West African folktales to open some paths for women to play around with symbols and tools too often reserved for men. Both stories are narrative manifestos, fictions that are also metafictions. They exude a hope common to the whole book, a hope in human imagination. We have, these stories suggest, imagined badly, narrowly, oppressively—but just because we have does not mean that we must.
Continue reading at SH.

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