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The Death of Vivek Oji

af Akwaeke Emezi

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4281845,682 (4.18)32
"A tender, potent, and compulsively readable novel of a Nigerian-Indian family and the deeply held secret that tests their traditions and bonds"--
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» Se også 32 omtaler

Engelsk (17)  Finsk (1)  Alle sprog (18)
Viser 1-5 af 18 (næste | vis alle)
Nuoren polven naiskirjailijan kuvaus vanhakantaisen yhteisönsä normeihin sopeutumattomasta nuoresta miehestä, joka on syntynyt samana päivänä kun hänen isoäitinsä, suvun rakastettu matriarkka kuoli. Takaliepeen kehut ovat mielestäni hieman yliampuvia, mutta pidin etenkin kirjan loppuratkaisusta ja siitä, ettei kirjailija paisutellut tarinaa monen sadan sivun mittoihin. Nyt kirja oli helppolukuinen ja lyhyehkö, kuten nimihenkilönsä elämäkin.
  TarjaRi | Aug 16, 2021 |
A story of the tragedy of being gay in a repressive society, the secrets and pain of hiding and the difficulties of family coping with what they don't understand when they discover the truth. ( )
  snash | Jul 20, 2021 |
Vivek Oji is a young man, whose dead body is wrapped and left on his mother’s doorstep in the aftermath of rioting. The story of his tragically short life is told from the perspective of his friends, family, and occasionally from Vivek. Readers learn about his secret life and the intolerance for being “different” in various ways in Nigerian culture: mixed marriages, gender identity, etc. While the writing was good, dealt with important topics and realistic, I was not drawn into the characters enough to really like the book as much as others did. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
I don't really think it's my place to say what makes a good trans book or not. I'm sure this book can be oodles more impactful to someone else that is similar to Vivek. I will say it's a bit frustrating to have the story based on "no one knew Vivek" and then give Vivek only a few pages throughout the book to state their case. Why then even include those few pages? The story centers on two cousins, their parents, and a lovely group of Nigerwives and their children in Nigeria. I'm not getting a spellcheck alert on "Nigerwives" so I'm pleased as punch that this is a real thing and was included in this book - a group of wives/friends that are usually all from different countries, married to men from Nigeria. Without them, this book would have had to focus even more on gender and sexuality. And I believe this is the point of the book, but I would have liked to know Vivek more than I did, before that dramatic death on the first page. No one knew Vivek, but neither did the reader. If this book speaks to any reader out there, I'm glad it was published for you. ( )
  booklove2 | Jun 24, 2021 |
If this post raises any issues for you, help is available at Reach Out.

I recognised the author's name on this remarkable novel when I was at the library collecting something else that I'd reserved... I'd previously read Freshwater.

The Death of Vivek Oji is an achingly sad book, bittersweet in its depiction of a trans adolescent in Nigeria. The novel begins with his mother finding his naked, bloodied body on her doorstep, the silver charm missing from around his neck. It is not until the end of the book that we learn the manner of his death and who it was who placed Vivek there. It seems such a cruel mystery to inflict on his grieving parents, but it was done out of love in the belief that it was what Vivek would have wanted. Which is one of many sad aspects of this story.

Early chapters create confusion about what Vivek's problem might be with childhood episodes of what appear to be epileptic blackouts and convulsions. It seems that perhaps the death has something to do with this untreated condition. But as the novel progresses the parents' response to Vivek's blackouts seems to signal their religious insensitivity to their only child's real needs. A devout Catholic, his mother Kavita prays to have Vivek cured, and in desperation even sends him to Aunt Mary's for faith healing. When he returns from what turns out to have been a brutal exorcism this causes an estrangement between the two sisters at a time when they really need each other. But though Vivek is sent away for education, he is not taken anywhere for medical attention. The point is, I think, to show that Nigeria is a long way off from being able to help anyone with gender identity problems if they can't even get help for epilepsy because there are barriers of superstition, shame and secrecy.

Kavita tolerates Vivek's long hair, but she will not face up to what it might mean.

In adolescence, however, Vivek finds acceptance and love from his cousin Osita and their friends. In the privacy of their unsupervised home, he is free to enjoy his hair, to wear dresses and makeup, and enjoy loving sex with Osita. But as in the Greenwood retreat of E M Forster's novel Maurice this Eden is only safe and happy because it's a private bubble, protected from any judgements, misunderstandings and threats of violence. To be his real self, which is also her real self, Vivek always has to hide it from the world, including from the parents whose support he needs more than anything. Although this idyll in his friends' home is a loving atmosphere, it's also a prison, from which Vivek yearns to break free.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2021/05/30/the-death-of-vivek-oji-by-akwaeke-emezi/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | May 30, 2021 |
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"A tender, potent, and compulsively readable novel of a Nigerian-Indian family and the deeply held secret that tests their traditions and bonds"--

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