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Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor

Kabu Kabu

by Nnedi Okorafor

Other authors: Alan Dean Foster (Contributor), Whoopi Goldberg (Foreword)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Okay, wow. Brace yourselves, folks, because I'm going to gush. I loved this collection of short stories. It was the first time I've read anything by Nnedi Okorafor and now I'm kicking myself for not reading her earlier. Though I think this collection might be a great place to start reading her works, because it contains several stories that are connected to her books.

Many of these stories felt to me as if Okorafor was taking on incident and turning it around and around then writing it from its many sides. I'm actually kind of amazed and thrilled by that, because it let me see things in so many different ways and got me thinking.

This collection is very much about women and their power. The sources of it, how people try to take it from them or erase it, and how women maintain it. One of my favorite stories was "The Palm Tree Bandit" about a woman to challenged cultural gender norms and inspired other women to do the same. I also really loved "The Carpet" and "The Baboon War" both of which Okorafor says were inspired by her own life. My favorite story was "On the Road" which was both terrifying and wonderful.

Okorafor takes you to Nigeria, in the past, the present, and the future. She introduces you to the people and lets you immerse yourself in the myths. You'll find your imagination flying like her windseekers even as you're troubled by the horrible truths that exist.

See? I said I'd be gushing. I loved the hell out of this book. I'll for sure be reading her other books.

(Provided by publisher) ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
Great collection of short stories. All the stories were good with really interesting fantasy and African dynamics. Some of the stories share a similar theme or character which was nice. Many of the stories were so good that I was disappointed when it was over. ( )
  renbedell | Dec 2, 2014 |
In August I read Nnedi Okorafor's novel Who Fears Death (2010). It was my first experience with her writing in the long form and I found it to be one of the most thought-provoking novels I've read all year. When I saw Kabu Kabu, a short story collection published by Prime Books, pop up on NetGalley I jumped at the chance. Kabu Kabu is a very diverse set of stories. I guess you could call most of the fantasy or magical realism, sometimes with a bit of science fiction mixed in. It's one of those collections that take a bit of time to read. I think it took me three weeks to read all twenty-one stories. It is one of those collections that work best in small portions....

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Dec 28, 2013 |
I have been salivating over Kabu Kabu since I first saw Nnedi Okorafor tweeting about it a few months ago. When I saw it was available to review, I pounced and, after reading just the first story, I was not disappointed. I laughed out loud, so loudly in fact the neighboring dogs had to come back with their own version of the raucous sounds I was making.

Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on Oct. 2, 2013. ( )
  TheLostEntwife | Oct 1, 2013 |
This book is a collection of short stories so I cannot really write a synopsis other than to say most of them are led by women, who are African or of African descent , all of them are powerful and all are set in beautiful, amazing rich worlds – or our own world with some excellent fantastic twists.

And it’s huge. In fact, it felt far huger reading it than I seemed when I first saw how big it was. There are the best part of 20 stories there – they’re not all extremely long but by the end I was beginning to feel a little fatigued. It wasn’t that they were boring or bad or dull stories – it’s just that after story 16 my brain did kind of ask me “what, it’s STILL story time?!”

This is not a criticism – this is advice. Read this book, but don’t try to tackle it all in one sitting.

Part of the reason for that is this is a book that absolutely denies any kind of skimming or lazy reading. This book is meaty. This book is complex. Many of these stories tackle big, weighty issues in stark terms. There are many different issues concerning racism, Black Americans in Nigeria and conflict with Nigerians, colonialism, exploitation of Nigeria by western powers and industry, of arrogant foreigners assuming they can step into Africa however they wish. Issues of shaming people for their natural hair, genocide, dehumanisation, degrading beliefs as “superstition”, scapegoating population, scapegoating religion, stereotyping – both religious and racial and a whole lot of challenges of assumptions. We have societies where fat women are considered the epitome of beauty or where a veiled Muslim woman is a mechanic working in her mother’s shop.

This book is stark. I don’t mean grim-dark with lots of excess awfulness everywhere in an attempt to be gritty – but stark. It’s unflinching. It both challenges that idea that Africa in general and Nigeria in particular is some grim, desperate place (even in the dystopian stories presented – which in themselves are unique simply for being African dystopians) while at the same time not flinching away from actual problems and creating some kind of unicorn inhabited utopia. It’s stark – it looks at the whole, the bad things depicted are not presented as uniquely African or Nigerian, they’re not sugar coated and they’re not exaggerated – but they are examined and exposed and they demand you think.

All the worlds are African-centric (primarily Nigerian), from the Nigerian-American lawyer catching the Kabu in Chicago and running into all kinds of shenanigans on the way, through to the stories set in post-apocalyptic Sudan. The stories contain a lot of African beliefs, mythology, folklore and stories bringing a lot of stories we just never see in so much of Urban Fantasy –or any genre for that matter – making them extremely unique. But it’s not just the monsters and magic that are different, there is a true sense of time and place throughout the stories with the surroundings and the food (especially the food which always takes a strong place in each story).

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  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 29, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nnedi Okoraforprimary authorall editionscalculated
Foster, Alan DeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goldberg, WhoopiForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nicole, SherinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sung, JohnathanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Foreword by Whoopi Goldberg 9

The magical Negro 11

Kabu kabu (with Alan Dean Foster) 14

The house of deformities 38

The black stain 52

How Inyang got her wings 61

On the road 81

Spider the artist 101

The ghastly bird 116

The winds of Harmattan 122

Long juju man 137

The carpet 142

Icon 154

The popular mechanic 165

Windseekers 176

Bakasi man 188

The baboon war 198

Asunder 210

Tumaki 218

Biafra 241

Moom! 248

The palm tree bandit 252
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 160701405X, Paperback)

Kabu Kabu - unregistered, illegal Nigerian taxis - generally get you where you need to go, but Nnedi Okorafor's Kabu Kabu takes the reader to exciting, fantastic, magical, occasionally dangerous, and always imaginative locations. This debut short story collection by award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor includes notable previously-published short work, a new novella co-written with New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster, and a brief forward by Whoopi Goldberg.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Presents a variety of takes on the future of Africa, including robots serving foreign interests find common cause with artists, women fall victim to society's order, and assassins ponder the effects of their efforts to provoke reform.

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