Penguin Random House Audio. Mar. 2022. 11:43 hrs. ISBN 9780593555460. $20. F
In Nigeria, vagabonds are those who exist outside the norm: the poor, the oppressed, the queer, and those who do not follow traditional life paths. Weaving together mythology and magic, characters confront the many challenges they face, both real and fantastical. This literary novel of epic proportions intertwines stories from different members of these communities, some serious, some not. The characters strive to live into their true identities, while struggling to remain members of their communities. Listeners will be surprised and relieved by the unexpectedly joyous ending. Because of its literary nature and the sensitive topics it handles, Osunde’s novel is sometimes a hard and oppressive listen, but narrator Arit Okpo, along with a full talented cast, gives a moving performance that showcases the variety of the human experience, both the ugly and the beautiful. The cast really shines as the book approaches its end and the various stories come together.
VERDICT While intense, Osunde’s debut novel would be a good addition for any library looking to add the voices of underrepresented communities.
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