#LitListens: The Baboon War by Nnedi Okorafor

Every weekend the Book Gems Club picks a book podcast or short audio fiction to listen and discuss.

Book Gems Club picked The Baboon War by Nnedi Okorafor from LeVar Burton Reads book podcast for its first #LitListens.

The Baboon War by Nnedi Okorafor is African magical realism piece, a sub genre of African Literature. The short story is about a group of schoolgirls that have a disturbing and life-altering encounter with the animal kingdom. “The Baboon War” appears in Nnedi Okorafor’s collection KABU KABU. This story won with 15 votes against 4 votes for The Last Cheng Beng Gift by Jaymee Goh. We got around to discussing this short audio fiction Monday evening.  The picture below has our discussion questions.

Emem and her friends had a 10 days war with baboons over the girls’ passage through a bush short cut to school in the mornings. My thoughts shared during our Book Gems Club discussion include:

  1. The story made me feel scared, thrilled and joyous.
  2.  I really like Emem. Her unrelenting friends remind me of my book girlfriends. I like her stunned older sis and worried father who didn’t woop her ass. I feel the baboons were my least favourite characters. Even though they were the perfect, unpredictable villains.
  3. The imagery and setting were quite vivid! I felt the mud on their socks, my afro get wet, my stomach grumbled with hunger when theirs did. I can travel there just to see everywhere and the graceful king of baboons.
  4.  LeVar Burton turns me on when he reads. When he gets into character it makes the listen more enjoyable. Very articulate podcast even with the music.
  5. I liked the varying point of views. The 3rd person, Emem’s elder sister and Emem herself. Their narrations made the plot full.
  6. Wait, it still amazes me that they got beaten and robbed for over a week lowkey. A full fledged war was happening so close and no one noticed. The stupid bracelet wasn’t even why they were beaten. The defeat gift that pulsed on the table. Is it the key to walking the bush path without harassment? It crossed my mind that the charging baboons defending their paths, are similar to area boys in Lagos who tax cars that pass their short cuts.
  7. Defend your food at all costs!!! Sometimes you have to be more intense than your opposition. When diplomacy doesn’t work..fight dirty o.
  8. Definitely, Nnedi is the queen of African magical realism!
  9.  5 stars!!!!!

I enjoyed the hilarious, insightful answers of other Gems shared during the discussion.  You can give it a listen here and let me know what you think of this story.


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