The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel (Hardcover)

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August 2020 Indie Next List


“I am staggered by the immersive, fluid, irresistible prose Emezi has perfected in their third novel, The Death of Vivek Oji. This tale follows the captivating, curious Vivek through the aftermath of his mysterious death, while simultaneously examining the people and relationships closest to him. Vivek, his cousin Osita, and a distant third-person narrator lead the reader through a grounded, lively picture of Nigeria, family and friendship bonds stretched to their breaking points, and the passing of this unique, complex young boy. Through addictive, multifaceted characters and a simply beautiful story, Emezi inspects masculinity, otherness, and love. This is one of the most magical, compelling, exciting, thought-provoking, and important books of our time.”
— Margy Adams, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

Description


"Electrifying." — O Magazine

Named one of the year’s most anticipated books by The New York TimesElleHarper’s Bazaar, BuzzFeed, Refinery29, and more

What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?


One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom. 

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

About the Author


Akwaeke Emezi is the author of the novel Freshwater, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and shortlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award, the Women's Prize for Fiction, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, the Wellcome Book Prize, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Freshwater was also awarded the Otherwise Award and named a Best Book of the Decade by BuzzFeed and a Best Book of the Year by The New YorkerNPR, and the Chicago Public Library. Emezi's second book, Pet, was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Selected as a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation, Emezi has been profiled by Vogue (for which they were photographed by Annie Leibovitz) and by Vanity Fair as part of "The New Hollywood Guard." Freshwater has been translated into ten languages and is currently in development as a TV series at FX, with Emezi writing and executive producing with Tamara P. Carter.

Praise For…


Advance praise for The Death of Vivek Oji:

“[A] dazzling, devastating story . . . A puzzle wrapped in beautiful language, raising questions of identity and loyalty that are as unanswerable as they are important.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Electrifying” O: The Oprah Magazine

“Brilliant . . . This is a book full of line-level beauty; a book of multiple perspectives, each rendered organically and fully; a book of mystery and community and love. . . . A special read that will not soon be forgotten.” —Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black

“Remarkably assured and graceful. . . . Emezi has once again encouraged us to embrace a fuller spectrum of human experience.” —The Washington Post

“One of the best books of 2020. . . . a vivid, propulsive experience. . . . about freedom and our capacity to imagine what it’s like to be someone else, or perhaps, more so, what it’s like to experience them as they are.” — Goop

“A testament to Emezi’s immense literary prowess.” Elle

“Equal parts brilliant and heartbreaking as readers are taken on a journey to discover the hidden parts of Vivek's life and the mystery surrounding his death.” —Marie Claire 

“Propulsive and resonant. . . . Emezi is a dazzling literary talent whose works cut to the quick of the spiritual self.” —Esquire 

“Although Akwaeke Emezi introduces us to Vivek Oji in death[,] it is his life that will resonate with readers, long after they've turned this book's final page.” — Refinery29

“A masterful winding and unwinding of the tethers of love, shame, identity, intimacy, and violence. . . . The story takes us into the intimate worlds of each character, with chapters moving fluidly between consciousness and the voice that sees all of them moving and making choices. . . . [The Death of Vivek Oji] made me want to live.” —Man Repeller

“The Death of Vivek Oji is an alchemy of personal family story and untouchable myth. It circles itself, like a shark preparing to take down its prey; reader, you will be disarmed.” —LitHub

“An astonishing book . . . With warmth and great detail, Emezi explores the complicated friction of cultural clashes and the loss of youthful innocence.” —Stylist

“A deep, tender look at a family unraveling around the tragic and early loss of someone they loved but never understood. . . . beautifully captures an ordinary family in all its loving, hurtful, messy glory.” —Shelf Awareness 

“Emezi offers a richly textured depiction of a middle-class community in Nigeria . . . Vividly written and deeply affecting.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Praise for Akwaeke Emezi:

“Dazzling.” —Los Angeles Times

 “Extraordinarily powerful.” —Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker

“Remarkable and daring.” —The New York Times Book Review

“The arrival of a major talent.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Akwaeke Emezi parts the seas of the self.”  —Vanity Fair

 “Like watching the beginning of something big.” Vox
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525541608
ISBN-10: 0525541608
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: August 4th, 2020
Pages: 256