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Creatures of Passage

af Morowa Yejide

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
15025185,672 (4.09)47
"Nephthys Kinwell is a taxi driver of sorts in Washington, DC, ferrying passengers in a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere with a ghost in the trunk. Endless rides and alcohol help her manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, Osiris, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River. Unknown to Nephthys when the novel opens in 1977, her estranged great-nephew, ten-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river. It is there that Dash--reeling from having witnessed an act of molestation at his school, but still questioning what and who he saw--has charmed conversations with a mysterious figure he calls the "River Man." When Dash arrives unexpectedly at Nephthys's door bearing a cryptic note about his unusual conversations with the River Man, Nephthys must face what frightens her most. Morowa Yejid's deeply captivating novel shows us an unseen Washington filled with otherworldly landscapes, flawed super-humans, and reluctant ghosts, and brings together a community intent on saving one young boy in order to reclaim itself."--Amazon.… (mere)
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» Se også 47 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 25 (næste | vis alle)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a very good read for me. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this type of story. A big thank you to early readers for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
  PittiesRule | Apr 18, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Dark, sad, poignant and beautiful. There were times when I had to put this down for a few days and escape to a happier world, but this book is absolutely worth the trauma.
  MizPurplest | Jan 4, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Creatures of Passage is an intelligent and beautifully written wander through generational pain. Set where Egyptian mythology lives in Washington, D.C. reality, the main character, Nephthys, ferries souls from world to world in her blue 1967 Plymouth Belvedere that always runs, always has a full tank, and always contains the spirit of a white girl in the trunk. The story of Nephthys’ extended family’s journey through loss and reconciliation unfolds in cycles and repetitions; repetition of language (“signs omens bones”), atrocities, travels, and history. Tragedies in African-American lives reoccur, abuse continues on child after child after child, damage proceeds unresolved.

But history is not condemned to repeat itself forever. Broken people heal. Souls move on. Evil is vanquished, at least for the moment. Community is allowed to grow. Nature and humanity are strongly connected throughout, in lush descriptions of the forest and sky. Everything is connected and everyone belongs in this world, condemning its inhabitants to responsibility for the present while freeing them from the past. ( )
  leisure | Sep 14, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
3.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Nephthys Kinwell was not a savior of souls.

Set in 1977 around Washington, D.C., Creatures of Passage was a Magical Realism and Fantasy story that centered around members of the Kinwell family. Nephthys' twin brother Osiris was murdered and the pain of losing him and not knowing the who and why of him eventually being found in the Anacostia river have caused her to become an alcoholic. Nephthys is emotionally lost without her twin and so spends her time driving around in a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere, that has the ghost of a murdered white girl in the trunk, and transports people that she gets a feeling about that need her.

And when Nephthys looked at her niece, she loved her and hated her too.

Nephthys' niece, Amber, is whispered about and thought to be a witch because of the dreams she has of people's upcoming death. Amber's dream of her own father's death when she was twelve and not being able to save him is why Nephthys can't really stand to be around her, as her pain makes her blame Amber. When Dash, Amber's ten year old son and Nephthys' great nephew, comes to her after school one day, it throws Nephthys for a little bit of a loop but gets her to think about the remaining family she has left as Dash says he thinks his mother has dreamed of his own death.

But more than anything, he remembered his grandmother saying: “We just going round and round, we creatures of passage. And we gonna keep going round till we understand the Loop.”

As this is also a fantasy story, we get murdered Osiris' story too and the journey he is going on after death. This part could have a content warning as racism and it's violence leads to Osiris' murder. The story was broken up into five parts with the first introducing some of the characters and getting the reader into the world and the tone of the story. This was told in a very flowing way, I can only think of one “corner” in the story, each character and their story, flows into the next with the Kinwells being the backbone. I'm usually one for a very linear story but the flow really worked for me here. As Nephthys picked up a passenger to bring them where they wanted to go, we flowed into that character's story, sometimes only a couple paragraphs and sometimes longer as they and their story played a bigger part in the overall picture.

For he sensed he was being hunted and handed a plate at the same time; given an offer without a choice.

The second part also had a difficult part to read as Dash, without fully understanding what he is seeing, comes upon the school janitor, Mercy, sexually abusing a girl. That scene is from Dash's point of view and so, not clear but the story then flows into Mercy's pov and goes back to him as a child experiencing his own abuse and then how he grows up to become the abuser himself. This flows into and with another character that Nephthys has picked up, Rosetta, and there was a heavy content warning scene depicting Rosetta's abuse.

And that was when he knew—as all ghosts do—that death is just another kind of living.

After the heavier, less placed in fantasy second part, the third part brings in more of the myth and mysticism that cloaks the overall story. The fantasy and magical realism world-building wasn't complex, it's Kingdom of Virginia instead of a State, so don't go into this wanting that kind of fantasy. It's more of the character of Wolf and how Osiris is traveling through the Twelve Hours of the Night and trying to get out of The Conundrum of the Three (think Purgatory). It's about flowing the stories of life, the sadness, anger, pain, fight, love, and people with myths and allegory to teach, explain, and try and make meaning out of.

There was a girl who was there but now she was gone.

Around the fourth part is where I thought the story started to lose some of it's steam as it took just a little bit too long to get to where it was flowing. The fourth part brings in a character that had previously been wondered about, Dash's father, and we get his story that flows into the fifth and final part. The final part has most of our lost souls flow together and while there is no definite happy ending as life flows on, there was a feeling for at least in this moment, it felt settled.

There were so many others, countless passengers, each with burdens that kept them frozen even as they moved from one place to the next.

The list of characters in this could seem like a lot but I can't think of one that was wasted, each was powerful in their own way and I would definitely read a story about Find Out. I could see some readers having difficulty with the flow of the story, how characters and their stories bleed into one another and while the overall backbone of the story is linear, the time flows back and forth as characters and their personal stories get told. I ended up really liking the way the story was told because of how each character left us with almost like Easter eggs of how they and their actions affected other characters earlier and later in the story. It all goes back to the flowing feel of the story and how time and people flow in and out of each other's lives, really great way to tell a story.

But most of all, he'd always wondered, down through the ages in different realms, how these creatures of passage could be so careless. ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Sep 2, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My favorite part of this novel was learning about Anacostia—the scenery became quite vivid for me. The week after I read it, the NYT ran an interactive piece about the area, and included a picture of the big chair. The rest is ghosts of cruelty and anger tearing people apart, sometimes bringing a few together, and ruining my taste for lemonade, written with some grace. ( )
  hairball | Aug 28, 2022 |
Viser 1-5 af 25 (næste | vis alle)
In “Creatures of Passage,” a cosmic lexicon describes mundane, earthbound life. In Yejidé’s hands, the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., becomes the realm of Anacostia. The protagonist, Nephthys Kinwell, is, in one light, an alcoholic taxi driver, and, in another, a Stygian ferrywoman haunted by the violent death of her twin brother, Osiris. Rising fog announces her shifts and while she shuttles passengers to and from physical destinations, she is really shuttling them through emotional states, ferrying the soul as much as the body, all while the ghost of a murdered white woman passes the time in her trunk....what is among the book’s greatest strengths, the care taken to deepen our understanding of these characters, ends up creating its greatest flaw: uneven pacing. Readers spend so much time amid the plight of the story’s victims that they can sometimes forget that there’s a hero, or three, out there capable of deliverance, of salvation. Heroes just as tragic and unlucky and compelling as the people they’re trying to save....The head-hopping from one character’s point of view to another’s, the way the narration swoops from cosmic heights to the worm’s-eye view of the physical damage wrought by the “white ravage,” the expansive and mythic language, the presence of otherworldly wolves and underwater communities alongside kids on porches and police cars and school nurses, all these otherwise clashing elements become, in this cast, a cohesive whole, telling us that this, too, is America.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerThe New York Times, Tochi Onyebuchi (betalingsside) (Mar 18, 2021)
 
Every once in a while, a novel is so compelling that it changes your sense of a place... Morowa Yejidé’s “Creatures of Passage” is that book. It is set in a mythological version of Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia, a predominantly Black neighborhood, sited on a hill across the river with spectacular views of the city. Yejidé’s characters are so finely drawn, her language so lush, the city’s landmarks so cleverly repurposed within this magical setting, that the fictional place feels as real as the place itself... Nephthys drives her haunted 1967 Plymouth Belvedere as a taxi for people broken by life. She is the novel’s beating heart. Overcome with grief after her twin’s disappearance decades earlier, Nephthys numbs her pain with alcohol, and provides her passengers comfort....“Creatures” is threaded with hope and love and connection. Neighbors care for neighbors. Dash’s intuition sews a sundered family back together. The Anacostia River flows on, and the people name “the unnameable, the preposterous, and the miraculous in the kingdoms of the land.” “Creatures of Passage” is that rare novel that dispenses ancestral wisdom and literary virtuosity in equal measure.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerWashington Post, Martha Anne Toll (betalingsside) (Mar 18, 2021)
 
Yejidé creates a tapestry of interconnected stories of guilt, loss, love, grief, justice, and restoration as the story builds toward an intense climax involving Mercy and Dash, and one of Nephthys’s fares, known only as the “colonel’s wife,” confronts her own family tragedy. While at times the book can feel didactic, with the characters very obviously meant as metaphors for historical trauma, Yejidé’s prose is often stunning. At its best, the story’s rich texture evokes the ghost stories of Toni Morrison.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerPublisher's Weekly (Dec 31, 2020)
 
In which late-1970s Washington, D.C., is reimagined as an enchanted land populated by changelings, phantoms, seers, waking nightmares, and at least one haunted car....both mystic visions and real-life horrors converge into a sequence of disquieting revelations from the past and alarming prospects for calamity in the future unless Nephthys and her own spiritual powers can set in motion the hard, necessary work of placating the dead and rescuing the living. Historic detail and mythic folklore forge a scary, thrilling vision of life along America's margins.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerKirkus Reviews (Dec 25, 2020)
 
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The goddess Nephthys ferried lost souls through the dark currents of the Great Mystery, from one isle of existence to another and out to the far reaches of fate, all the while filled with a profound sadness for her brother, the murdered god Osiris, whose power was taken by dividing him into pieces....
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Nephthys Kinwell was not a savior of souls. That was God's charge. Or maybe the trade of the Devil. But she did ferry souls from one quadrant to another, and over the streets that now covered the prehistoric marshes of the capital of the territories.
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"Nephthys Kinwell is a taxi driver of sorts in Washington, DC, ferrying passengers in a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere with a ghost in the trunk. Endless rides and alcohol help her manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, Osiris, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River. Unknown to Nephthys when the novel opens in 1977, her estranged great-nephew, ten-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river. It is there that Dash--reeling from having witnessed an act of molestation at his school, but still questioning what and who he saw--has charmed conversations with a mysterious figure he calls the "River Man." When Dash arrives unexpectedly at Nephthys's door bearing a cryptic note about his unusual conversations with the River Man, Nephthys must face what frightens her most. Morowa Yejid's deeply captivating novel shows us an unseen Washington filled with otherworldly landscapes, flawed super-humans, and reluctant ghosts, and brings together a community intent on saving one young boy in order to reclaim itself."--Amazon.

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