And Then He Sang a Lullaby

Books on Tape. Jun. 2023. 9:12 hrs. ISBN 9780593791738. $76. F
Nigerian author and activist Ani debuts with an affecting coming-of-age story focusing on two queer men navigating life in contemporary Nigeria. August and Segun are both only sons living in a society openly hostile to members of the LBGTQIA+ community. While studying at the University of Nigeria, they meet at a cybercafé where Segun is working; they are immediately drawn to each other, but their relationship doesn’t sit easy, as August is closeted, and Segun refuses to deny his sexuality. Both men carry their own burdens—August struggles with the weight of familial expectations, and Segun, who has never presented as stereotypically masculine, has been bullied from an early age. The couple take stock of their relationship when unyielding legislation banning same-sex relationships is enacted, and Segun is viciously beaten in a homophobic attack. Narrator Michael Obiora, born in London to Nigerian-Igbo parents, provides an immersive listening experience, capturing the richness of Ani’s language and bringing out the depth of his characters.
VERDICT Twenty-three-year-old Ani, who wrote his novel by hand and typed it into his cell phone, stuns with this emotional roller-coaster of a story about finding love in the worst possible circumstances.★
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