I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor
Published: 2013 by Prime
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Source: the author
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You know that feeling when you read something by an author and then are like “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!” because you’re blown away by these vast and rich worlds that are different that anything you’ve read about in your entire life, and you can’t stop thinking about the stories for weeks? That’s how I felt after reading Kabu Kabu, a collection of short stories by Nnedi Okorafor.
Okorafor’s stories can broadly be characterized as SF/F, but unlike most SF/F, they aren’t rooted in a European tradition. Instead, Okorafor draws from Nigerian mythology to create something truly unique. The tititular story (I like the word ‘tititular’ because I am about as mature as a five-year-old) “Kabu Kabu” is the lighthearted tale of a woman who is attending a wedding in Nigeria. She’s running late, and so she takes a gypsy cab that seems to appear outside her apartment as if by magic. But there’s something special about the cab, which takes her through a supernatural underworld before leading her to her ultimate destination, proving that the journey mean much more than just a means to an end. Not all of the stories in the collection have that sense of levity, dealing with themes of alienation, loss, and corruption, but even heavier subjects are treated with breathtaking beauty. The windseeker stories, for example, are set in villages where the windseekers (who look a bit different and have the ability to fly) are treated as outsiders, and their exclusion results in a kind of tragic beauty as they go off to seek their own paths. These were easily some of my favorites, and they make me want to read Zahrah the Windseeker, a novel set in the same world. Although the story that resonated with me the most was “Spider the Artist,” which described a lonely woman befriending a robotic killing machine.