Lagoon (Nnedi Okorafor)

28 September 2022

Lagoon

Three strangers, each isolated by his or her own problems: Adaora, the marine biologist. Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa. Agu, the troubled soldier. Wandering Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria's legendary mega-city, they're more alone than they've ever been before.

But when something like a meteorite plunges into the ocean and a tidal wave overcomes them, these three people will find themselves bound together in ways they could never imagine. Together with Ayodele, a visitor from beyond the stars, they must race through Lagos and against time itself in order to save the city, the world... and themselves.

'There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.'

Average Rating:

Sinclair Manson (30 September 2022 20:05)

In her afterword, the author traces the genesis of Lagoon to anger at the portrayal of Nigerians in District 9, and coming through strongly in this novel was a love for Nigeria, specifically Lagos, but an open eyed love that didn't deny what is wicked or difficult. The ambiguously moral aliens choose Lagos for its vitality and the novel overflows accordingly. Extra terrestrials, gods and superheroes come teeming like mutant sealife. Petty criminals, politicians, evangelists and LGBTQ activists slosh around in their wake.

Sometimes it felt like too much and I found I enjoyed the story more in its individual parts than as a whole. There were some great vignettes of incidental characters caught up in the chaos, but with so many strands the whole thing felt like it might fly into mess at any moment and inevitably some were cut unsatisfyingly short.