South West Reading Passport 2016: Book to the Future

Butterfly Fish

butterflyfish-1Butterfly Fish is the 2015 debut novel by Irenosen Okojie. It was the Betty Trask award winner 2016 for a debut novel by a writer under the age of 35. The novel tells the story of Joy, a photograph based in London whose mother has just died. Joy’s life changes when she receives her mother’s inheritance – a large sum of money, her grandfather’s diary and a brass warrior’s head from Ancient Benin.

Strange occurrences begin to haunt Joy’s every day and as she searches for the origins of the artefact, the narrative expands and the reader is presented with four different time scales all linked to the same object and the effects of it are shown in ripples which have consequences for all the characters across history and present day in the novel.

This novel combines historical fiction with a rich present day narrative steeped in memory whilst weaving in elements of traditional Nigerian storytelling to create a novel which concludes in a shocking and inescapable truth…



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