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Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
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Who Fears Death

by Nnedi Okorafor

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1816510,245 (3.82)169
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» See also 169 mentions

English (66)  French (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
I almost loved this novel. I was fully here for the post-apocalyptic Africa setting, and the burgeoning feminist-ism of the main characters, and the hits against racism and misogyny. I love a good coming-of-age quest novel, and some meaty dystopia always makes me want to read more.

It just felt like something - something - was missing. I never quite felt like I understood or tracked with some of the key relationships in the novel. I wanted more development of some of the secondary characters, that seemed to play a major part in Onye's journey. And the ending felt....well, it seemed a bit too neat and tidy that a quest that took 375 pages and the deaths of several main characters could be resolved in one chapter.

This novel had the spark of something great, but for me it never quite arrived. I love the author's ideas, however, and will definitely be reading more of her work. ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Mar 31, 2019 |
Was für ein Buch. Im Rahmen des offenen Lesezirkels des SF-Netzwerks gelesen und für mich für gut befunden. Wenn man es herunter bricht, entspricht das Buch den klassischen Fantasy-Tropes: junge Heldin, außergewöhnliche Kräfte, übermächtiger Gegner, Welt retten usw. Ich denke, das ist auch das einzige, was ich wirklich bemängeln würde. Andererseits ist es schwierig, im Genre was wirklich neues zu erschaffen, das es nicht schon gibt. Und viele andere Romane sind – wenn man sie abspeckt – auch nur ein Abklatsch von bereits dagewesenem. Trotzdem möchte ich dieses Buch loben. Okorafor nimmt den Leser mit in ein futuristisches Afrika, in dem trotz allem Tradition, Brauchtum und Aberglaube eine große Rolle spielen. Warum sollte es da auch anders sein, als in anderen von Autoren geschaffenen Welten. Erschreckend sind dabei besonders die Gräueltaten, die die Nuru den Okeke antun. Onyesonwus ist das Ergebnis einer brutalen Massenvergewaltigung von Okeke-Frauen, darunter Onyesonwus Mutter Najeeba, durch Nuru-Männer. Die dort beschriebenen Szenen sind alles andere als leicht verdaulich und wenn man da empfindlich ist (so wie ich), dann sollte man sie entweder vermeiden oder nur oberflächlich überfliegen. Ja, das darf man als Triggerwarnung verstehen. Onyesonwus Mutter allerdings ist ein Beispiel dafür, wie stark Frauen sind. Immer! Ich habe das extrem bewundert. Nicht nur, dass sie die Vergewaltigung überlebt und daraus schwanger hervorgeht, nein, zu aller himmelschreienden Ungerechtigkeit gilt sie nun als Aussätzige und muss ihr Dorf und ihren Mann, den sie sehr geliebt hat, verlassen, weil sie als Schande gilt. (Ehrlich, ich kann gar nicht soviel essen, wie ich kotzen könnte bei dieser Thematik.) Weit von der Realität ist dies ja nicht entfernt. Trotzdem gibt Onyesonwus Mutter nicht auf und bringt eine Tochter zur Welt, die sturer, wütender und beeindruckender nicht sein kann.

Einige Mitleser im Lesezirkel bemängelten, dass Onyesonwus Wut auf Dauer nervt und ich gestehe, dass dies auch für mich sehr anstrengend war, denn Onyesonwu ist ständig wütend. Andererseits ist es für mich nachvollziehbar, woher ihre Wut rührt. Sie gehört nirgendwo dazu. Sie ist weder Okeke noch Nuru und ihr Aussehen zeichnet sie als Ewu ab, misstrauisch beäugt von allen Seiten. Dazu kommt, dass die Okeke glauben, dass Ewu, die das Erzeugnis eines Gewaltaktes sind, selbst nur Gewalt kennen. Am liebsten hätte ich Onye in den Arm genommen und ihr gesagt, dass alles gut wird. Und wahrscheinlich hätte sie mich dafür verprügelt, denn Mitleid will Onye genausowenig haben. Wir folgen ihrem Leben. Ihren Erzählungen. Ihren Geschichten der Kindheit. Damit sie dazu gehört, nimmt sie am 11. Ritual teil: einer Beschneidung. Ja, auch das thematisiert Okorafor in dem Buch. Weibliche Beschneidung. Durch das Ritual entsteht eine Verbindung zwischen Onye und den drei anderen Mädchen, die daran teilgenommen haben: Binta, Diti und Luyu. Die vier verbindet ab da eine ungewöhnliche Freundschaft und schnell erfährt man als Leser auch noch andere Dinge, die in allen Gesellschaften eine dunkle Rolle spielen. Sexueller Missbrauch durch einen männlichen Verwandten, in diesem Falle Bintas Vater. Bintas Schicksal hat mich zutiefst berührt. Sie wächst vor den Augen des Lesers und ich habe so manches Mal ihren Mut und ihre Kraft bewundert.

Onyesonwu merkt sehr bald, dass sie etwas Besonderes ist. Sie möchte bei dem ansässigen Zauberer Aro in de Lehre gehen doch er weist sie immer wieder ab, weil sie ein Mädchen ist. Sie verliebt sich in den Ewu-Jungen Mwita und die beiden verbindet sehr bald ein enges Band.

Der Zauberer Daib, der Vergewaltiger ihrer Mutter und somit Onyesonwus biologischer Vater, beobachtet Onyesonwu immer wieder und versucht sie auch im Traum durch Magie umzubringen. Zusammen mit Mwita und ihren Freundinnen bricht Onye auf, sich ihm zu stellen und ihre Reise ist voller Gefahren und Fantastik. Die Vorstellungskraft von Nnedi Okorafor hat mich einfach extrem beeindruckt. Zu keiner Zeit fand ich das Buch langweilig oder zäh, ganz im Gegenteil, diese Welt war für mich einfach nur faszinierend und exotisch. Und auch wenn man früh erfährt, wie die Geschichte irgendwie enden wird, hat es Okorafor trotzdem geschafft, die Spannung bis zum Ende aufrecht zu erhalten.

Fazit
Mein persönliches Lesehighlight bis jetzt und ich bin sehr gespannt, „Das Buch des Phoenix“ zu lesen, was ebenfalls in dieser Welt angesiedelt sein wird. ( )
  Powerschnute | Mar 21, 2019 |
This is a tough book; it is a coming of age story, but its main themes are genocide, weaponized rape, genital mutilation, systemic abuse and oppression of women. This heavy dose of reality is interwoven with stories of friendship, love, family, growing up and learning; and blended with the mysticism and spirit world of West Africa. The book takes place both in the deserts of Africa and the magical world of powerful sorcerers and wise women.

Onyesonwu is Ewu, a child of rape; forever marked as an outcast by her lighter color of skin and different facial features. The raped women, if they survive, are rejected by their husbands and family; forever outcasts, hated everywhere they go. Onyesonwu however is not only Ewu: she has powerful talent passed onto her by her rapist father, and also from her mother. She is the chosen one, who must end the genocide, the hate between Nuru and Okeke, and the oppression of women - but she must pay a high price that she knows from the beginning.

Okorafor’s writing is action and dialog-driven, rapidfire. She does not dwell on long descriptions, instead shows people in action. It is easy to read, and a page-turner, despite the heavy topics. We see quite a bit of young-adult oriented problems between friends; a lot of the book is wandering in the desert, or telling stories inspired by West African mythology.

I have finished the book a week ago, but had trouble formulating coherent impressions - possibly because the book is a unique mix of tough reality, fantasy, and young adult, in an African setting. “Enjoyed” it is not the right word - so much hate and anger is wrapped up in it - but it is captivating and highly original. I have only slight criticisms: I feel that Nnedi Okorafor has a tendency to undo undoable things; that her climactic events are over too quickly; and that the ending is ambiguous in a way that does not fit with the rest of the book. But those are minor problems; overall this is a good read and I recommend it to anyone but those who are put off by graphic depictions of rape. ( )
  Gezemice | Mar 8, 2019 |
DNF after the first section, page 111. It's not that I disliked what I was reading - it was very atmospheric, I liked the world Okorafor created, the resonances with mythology, and I'm always up for a little magic. But it felt like a YA novel, which to me means that it is plot heavy and characters aren't drawn with much subtlty or nuance. I realize that Onyesonwu is a child and will mature as the story goes on, but I don't think that will change my intial impression. YA novels just don't give me enough to chew on.

I did like [b:Binti|25667918|Binti (Binti, #1)|Nnedi Okorafor|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1433804020s/25667918.jpg|45491127] very much, and I think I would have liked this book better if it had been written as a novella series also. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
Beautiful, dark -- and yet with an unexpectedly hopeful tone. ( )
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nnedi Okoraforprimary authorall editionscalculated
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glover, ElizabethDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kern, ClaudiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruth, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
"Dear friends, are you afraid of death?" - Patrice Lumumba, first and only elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo
Dedication
To my amazing father, Dr. Godwin Sunday Daniel Okoroafor, M.D., F.A.C.S. (1940-2004).
First words
My life fell apart when I was sixteen. Papa died. He had such a strong heart, yet he died. Was it the heat and smoke from his blacksmithing shop? It's true that nothing could take him from his work, his art. He loved to make the metal bend, to obey him. But his work only seemed to strengthen him; he was so happy in his shop. So what was it that killed him? To this day I can't be sure. I hope it had nothing to do with me or what I did back then.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Well-known for young adult novels (The Shadow Speaks; Zahrah the Windseeker), Okorafor sets this emotionally fraught tale in postapocalyptic Saharan Africa. The young sorceress Onyesonwu—whose name means Who fears death?—was born Ewu, bearing a mixture of her mother's features and those of the man who raped her mother and left her for dead in the desert. As Onyesonwu grows into her powers, it becomes clear that her fate is mingled with the fate of her people, the oppressed Okeke, and that to achieve her destiny, she must die. Okorafor examines a host of evils in her chillingly realistic tale—gender and racial inequality share top billing, along with female genital mutilation and complacency in the face of destructive tradition—and winds these disparate concepts together into a fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling.
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Born into post-apocalyptic Africa to a mother who was raped after the slaughter of her entire tribe, Onyesonwu is tutored by a shaman and discovers that her magical destiny is to end the genocide of her people.

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