3-2-5 Paragraphs on Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon

LagoonLagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

This is the third Nnedi Okorafor book I’ve read. The second didn’t really count because it was a prequel to the first. I kept thinking that this is what War of the Worlds would look like if it happened in modern Nigeria instead of 1950’s SoCal. Nnedi constantly reminds you that you are in Lagos, Nigeria (which is OK because African science fiction is still new to me so I appreciate the cultural insights she provides each time she hits me with the “Setting Hammer” to ensure I remember we are still in Nigeria as her story unfolds).

Reading her first book, then her prequel to the first, and now Lagoon, Nnedi’s writing has gotten more “poetic” (meaning her descriptions of people and places have become richer, more fluid, and rhythmic). I enjoyed reading Lagoon especially Nnedi’s weaving of Nigerian myth and folktale into the modern science fiction of an alien invasion (Caveat: I am unfamiliar with Nigerian myths and folktales so whatever Nnedi tells me I believe).

The one thing I am confused by is the introduction of new narrators or characters with no direct connection to the main cast towards the middle or the end of the book. I understand their role in the story but their points of introduction being well past the mid-point of the story undermines the “emotional continuity” or perspective of the story. I mean once I’ve invested myself in the narrator suddenly a new one comes along and my investment is gone. I’m not sure if this is a Nigerian storytelling style or something unique to Nnedi but it is distracting.

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