The Death of Vivek Oji

Akwaeke Emezi

fiction contemporary lgbtqia+
challenging emotional reflective medium-paced

256 pages | first published 2020

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.

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emotional 96%
sad 76%
reflective 55%
challenging 49%
dark 38%
mysterious 26%
tense 17%
hopeful 11%
inspiring 11%
informative 5%
adventurous 2%
funny 1%


medium 67%
fast 20%
slow 12%

Strong character development?

Yes: 85% | It's complicated: 12% | No: 1%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 63% | It's complicated: 32% | No: 3%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 98% | It's complicated: 0% | No: 0%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 75% | It's complicated: 18% | No: 5% | N/A: 1%

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