2 of 5 stars.
Many folktales include an object with mysterious or mystical properties, be it a mirror or piece of jewelry or abandoned lamp in the Arabian desert. Said object may contain echoes of its own past or act as a portal for a character-building adventure. This tale hints at and then fails to deliver on a modern version of this style of folktale. Using a colloquial voice, the teen-aged narrator and her sister, older by a year, experience something outside of “normal” after purchasing a carpet at market. Despite the obvious elements of fantastical, the tone is fictional realism.
The sisters head from America to Nigeria without their parents for the first time. Despite having been to the country many times before, cultural differences rub up against them as they need to navigate the vacation without adult help. They purchase a carpet in the big city before heading 8 hours into remote parts of the country to stay at their family home in their father’s village. Upon arrival, they are disturbed to find out that their kindly neighbors and cousins had stripped the house of all their possessions while they were away. Also, spiders, geckos and other unknown creatures had taken up residence inside the house.
Locked in a nearly bare room with only a single borrowed bed, the girls hear disturbing noises in the house throughout the night . . .
This tale appears in Okorafor’s anthology, Kabu Kabu by Prime Books.
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