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Lagoon Paperback

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Who Fears Death: 'A fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling' Publishers Weekly Beautifully written, this is dystopian fantasy at its very best, Library Journal Review Both wondrously magical and terribly realistic. Washington Post

About the Author

Nnedi Okorafor is the author of numerous novels and short stories, including Zahrah the Windseeker, which won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature, and Who Fears Death, winner of the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. She lives in Chicago, where she is a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University.


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd; Unabridged edition
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444762753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444762754
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,572,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nnedi Okorafor's books include Lagoon (a British Science Fiction Association Award finalist for Best Novel), Who Fears Death (a World Fantasy Award winner for Best Novel), Kabu Kabu (a Publisher's Weekly Best Book for Fall 2013), Akata Witch (an Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (a CBS Parallax Award winner). Her adult novel The Book of Phoenix (prequel to Who Fears Death) was released in May 2015; the New York Times called it a "triumph". Her novella Binti will be released in late September 2015 and her young adult novel Akata Witch 2: Breaking Kola will be released in 2016.

Nnedi holds a PhD in literature/creative writing and is an associate professor at the University at Buffalo, New York (SUNY). She splits her time between Buffalo and Chicago with her daughter Anyaugo and family. Learn more about Nnedi at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Megan Christopher on April 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
In LAGOON, Nnedi Okorafor poses the question: what if first contact with aliens took place not in New York, London, or Tokyo, but the beach city of Lagos, Nigeria? The answer is something that is both utterly human and uniquely African. In addition to stunning detail of both city and marine life, Okorafor fills this novel with a dozen points of view, but rather than confusing the narrative, those sections allow the reader to experience all sides of the encounter that leads to some of Nigeria's darkest days, and to understand why different people react so differently to something `alien.'

It's pretty rare to find sci-fi and fantasy that isn't Western-centric, and even rarer to find genre fiction built around African culture, both past and present. That alone is a great reason to read this book, but what really makes LAGOON special is the way Okorafor writes Lagos, making the city itself one of the main characters. She doesn't try to glorify Nigeria, or denigrate it, but writes about a real place full of real people that, in many ways, could be any city in the world. There are so many wonderful scenes of powers, people's reactions, and Okorafor even gives a voice to the marine life in the titular lagoon. The Pidgin English sections are a little hard to translate, but Okorafor stands by the submersion method, and I did get the hang of it after awhile.

It's a challenging book in many respects, including the language and the scattered PoVs. Normally, I'm not a fan of novels that leave unanswered questions, or present a situation without explaining its cause, but in this case, I liked the pragmatism. It's not about figuring out where the aliens come from so they can be sent packing, or even investigating why they're here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James R. Sanders on June 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Science fiction is often used to explore real world issues, anxieties, and hopes. Lagoon is no exception. Through the use of an alien invasion, the author brings into sharp relief Nigeria’s chaos, brutality, and desperation, but also the resilience, perseverance, and ingenuity of Nigerians. The current crisis in the country spawned by the extremist sect Boko Haram gives the book a timeliness its author and publisher may not have anticipated. Many northern Nigerians probably feel as if they are experiencing an alien invasion in real life, as Boko Haram is as threatening as any extraterrestrial.

Brilliantly imaginative, the book nonetheless is firmly rooted in the realities faced by ordinary people in Nigeria. These are revealed throughout the work as the three main characters cope with visitors from another world. Daily life is difficult and stressful. Agu, the soldier, comments after witnessing an eruption of street violence, “The alien invasion was just an excuse to let it all out.” Generalized anger finds expression, one way or another. Of all the portraits sketched in the book, that of Father Oke is perhaps the most compelling. It reveals the dubious character of some, (not all), of Nigeria’s large population of clergy, who at times take advantage of the very people they are supposed to help.

Corruption tops the list of ills Okorafor targets. The President, she writes, “found himself powerless to fight against Nigeria’s soul-crushing corruption. Whenever he tried to make changes, people around him were always trying to drain some sort of shady profit from his efforts.” Fake contracts bled money from programs intended to aid the disadvantaged.

Near the end of the book Father Oke states his belief that the Fin Bank in Lagos is evil.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tudor Ciocarlie on August 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Like the alien invasion in Lagoon, this book is like a foreign invasion into the minds of its readers. Like the alien invasion that transforms every Lagosian into something new and better, this book, with its wonderful foreign characters and setting, will transform every reader. Lagoon will immerse you in the wonderful waters of its fiction and when you'll emerge, you will be, like its characters, changed and so much richer.
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