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The Death of Vivek Oji

The Death of Vivek Oji

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 by Akwaeke Emezi is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

Book Details

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publish Date: August 4, 2020
ISBN: 9780525541608
Language: English

About the Author

Akwaeke Emezi (they/them) is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Death of Vivek Oji, which was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Jean Stein Award; Pet, a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, a Walter Honor Book, and a Stonewall Honor Book; Freshwater, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and shortlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize; Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir, which won the 2022 ALA Stonewall Prize for Best Nonfiction Book; and most recently, Content Warning: Everything, their debut poetry collection, and Bitter, their second young adult novel. 

Selected as a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation and featured on a Time cover as a Next Generation Leader, they are based in liminal spaces.

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