March 16th, 2011
Onyesonwu—whose name means “Who fears death?”—was born Ewu; that is, she is a child of mixed racial heritage, born of rape. Her mother’s people, the Okeke, hate and fear Ewu because they believe that all Ewu children, whose features are uniformly paler than their own, are destined for violence because of the violence that engendered them. But Onyesonwu is determined to prove her village differently, even going so far as to undergo a brutal traditional Okeke ritual to prove herself Okeke at heart. But when she begins manifesting signs of latent sorcerous ability, she finds herself outcast again. Surrounded by a small group of those loyal to her, Onyesonwu sets out for the home of her greatest enemy—her own father, leader of the rival Nuru tribe—hoping to fulfill a prophecy and change her world for the better.
Set in a post-apocalyptic version of Africa in which what technology is left is in the hands of the dominant, lighter-skinned tribe and the subservient, dark-skinned people are blamed for the destruction of the old world, Who Fears Death is not a light-weight book. At times, it is extremely violent and graphic, especially when dealing with the systematic rape of Okeke women by Nuru men. But Onyesonwu is a winning heroine whose struggle for acceptance and whose fight to change the racist, repressive attitudes of those around her are vital and almost painfully realistic. This is an important book for our times.
Find Who Fears Death in our catalog.