"Butterfly Fish" by Irenosen Okojie (English Edition)
A stunning debut from the author of Speak Gigantular.
A fragile outsider living in London, Joy struggles to pull the threads of her life back together after her mother’s sudden death. Emptiness consumes her and, needing to fill the gaps of her loss, she finds she is drawn to a unique artefact inherited from her mother – a warrior’s head cast in brass that belonged to a king in eighteenth century Benin, Nigeria.
Joy is haunted by a beautiful young woman who appears in her photographs, familiar yet beguilingly distinct, the woman trails her wherever she goes. Joy begins to dream of a different time, a different place. She feels an inexplicable pull towards this mysterious female, and a past revealing itself through clues is scattered in her path. As family secrets come to light, she unearths the ties between her mother, grandfather, the wife of the king, a fearsome warrior, and the brass head’s pivotal connection to them all.
Haunting and compelling, Butterfly Fish is a richly told story of love and hope; of family secrets, power, political upheaval, loss and coming undone.
‘a novel of epic proportions... I fully expect to see Butterfly Fish on many an award nomination list.’ Yvvette Edwards
’A stunningly well-written book, juggling different timescales with great skill. Benin itself is vividly imagined in a historical narrative that runs in parallel with the contemporary London one. It is a wonderful novel.” Simon Brett OBE
‘A wonderful, richly drawn novel, cleverly juxtaposing scenes from everyday London with African folklore and mysticism.’ Joanne Harris