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Book Review: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Title: The Death of Vivek Oji

Author: Akwaeke Emezi

Length: 245 pages

Publisher: Faber Books

Synopsis: One afternoon, a mother opens her front door to find the length of her son’s body stretched out on the veranda, swaddled in akwete material, his head on her welcome mat. The Death of Vivek Oji transports us to the day of Vivek’s birth, the day his grandmother died. It is the story of an overprotective mother and a distant father, and the heart-wrenching tale of one family’s struggle to understand their child, just as Vivek learns to recognise himself.

I’ve seen a few of my fellow bookstagrammers rave about this book so it was definitely on my radar and then I was lucky enough to be sent a copy and I couldn’t just had to start it.

And what a beautiful book The Death of Vivek Oji is. It had so much I love in a book, amazing characters, beautiful writing, and an intriguing story.

Let’s talk about the writing. It’s the highlight of this book. It really is stunning. Akwaeke manages to capture beauty, heartache and, confusion. It’s stunning. I can say I was crying by page eleven. I’m pretty sure that’s a new record. But one line was just so beautiful and struck a cord with me.

Osita wished, much later, that he’d told Vivek the truth then, that he was so beautiful he made the air around him dull’

Every character in this book is so complex. Vivek goes on such a journey that is both heartbreaking and beautiful. Akwaeke has a real talent for capturing souls. At least that’s how it felt to me. Vivek felt so real, so fragile yet strong as they became who they really are. There was a point in this book where I just stopped and realised how much I cared for Vivek and I also realised that this book will probably break my heart. I also loved Osita, Juju and Elizabeth. I also loved Vivek mum. She goes on such a journey and it’s so beautiful. I’m sure you can tell it’s full of fantastic characters.

This book has fantastic representation and they are all dealt with brilliantly. Emezi has captured a trans narrative that felt so real that it’s the heart of this book. I’m calling the character Vivek in this review purely so I don’t ruin the journey for you. But I know that you’ll feel differently about the name once you’ve read it. There’s also a romance in this book that is beautiful, but is very controversial, you’ll know what I mean when you read it.

Also the ending of this book is brilliant. Throughout the book it’s a mystery what happened to Vivek and it’s so heartbreaking when you find out. It’s just sums up the whole energy of the book. Heartbreaking and hopeful.

I’ll be surprised if this isn’t in my top 10 books of the year.

I hope I’ve managed to get across how much I enjoyed this book and how much I want you too read it. It’s amazing and it’s out now. Also I refer to the main Character as Vivek throughout this review, as that’s what in the title of the book. But it is a story about transitioning, and finding your true self and I’ve decided to let you find out Viveks true name when you read it as it’s a beautiful moment.

Thanks to Faber Books for gifting me a copy of this book in return for an honest unbiased review.

Until the next review

JTH

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