Who Fears Death

  • by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Narrated by Anne Flosnik
  • 15 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In a far future, post-nuclear-holocaust Africa, genocide plagues one region. The aggressors, the Nuru, have decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke. But when the only surviving member of a slain Okeke village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert.
She gives birth to a baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand and instinctively knows that her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means "Who Fears Death?" in an ancient African tongue.
Reared under the tutelage of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers her magical destiny - to end the genocide of her people. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to grapple with nature, tradition, history, true love, the spiritual mysteries of her culture - and eventually death itself.

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What the Critics Say

"Okorafor examines a host of evils in her chillingly realistic tale-gender and racial inequality share top billing, along with female genital mutilation and complacency in the face of destructive tradition-and winds these disparate concepts together into a fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Unusual story - very enjoyable

What made the experience of listening to Who Fears Death the most enjoyable?

Enjoyed the unusual storyline


Any additional comments?

Not sure if there was a fault in my download as there seemed to be a strange chapter which read out of context. The book went from the main character having tea with her mum prior to going into the desert - to her being in jail, pregnant. It didn't seem to connect in any way .

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- Lynn

Just Brilliant, but not for the fain hearted :)

I was simply spellbound by the book from start to the end. Upfront I would like to say that this is not a book for the faint-hearted, as it contains so much violence and therefore makes it very hard to read at times. Okorafor depicts violence without flinching, and because most of the events echo what is still happening in a lot of countries around the world, this hits hard. We are confronted with topics such as genocide, rape, and female circumcission - showing us how brutal and stupid the practice is. Although, I have to say she doesn't glorify the violence she depicts, she more less tells it in a matter-of-fact way. She does, however, glorify everything which is beautiful in this story such as love, kindness and some of the magic.

In Okorafor's post-apocalyptic Sudan we find fragments of how the world used to be, but what makes this story different is that we don't have all this descriptions of technology long gone. Which usually plays an important part in a lot of post-apocalyptic stories. What I enjoyed was that it was more about the characters and the plot. Here, we find two predominant ethnic factions: the light skinned Nuru and the dark skinned Okeke. The Nuru feel that they are superiour and commit genocide against the Okeke, which includes both murder and rape. The Nuru enjoy to rape the Okeke women in a deliberate and violent manner, in order to impregnate them to show them how powerless they are as a race. This mixed offspring are called Ewu and treated as outcast on both sides, they are despised and shunned. The word Ewu means born of pain and violence, therefore the people believe that those children will themselves become violent.

Onyesonwu who's name means "Who Fears Death" is the result of such rape. The first six years of her life she spends with her mother in the desert as nomads, then her mother takes her to a city to give her the chance of some education. Still a child she develops more and more magical powers, which sets her even further apart from others. She meets Mwita who is also Ewu, and lives with the powerful sorcerer Aru. Mwita's abilities are the healing arts. Aru refuses to take Onyesonwu as his apprentice for several years, because he fears the powers she has. Her abilities, though extraordinary, cause her more grief than anything else. Aru only agrees to apprentice her when he discovers her ability to raise the dead and what impact her powers can have on a larger community. A few years later, she and her friends go on a quest, to confront and destroy Onyesonwu's biological father, who himself is a powerful sorcerer and the mastermind behind the genocide. However, it is important for Onyesonwu to save her mother's people from the impending war, the ongoing slavery and genocide of her people.
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- Bianca Bücherwurm "Drachenbraut"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 29-07-2010
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio