Things They Lost


Product Details

$26.99  $25.10
Scribner Book Company
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.1 X 1.3 inches | 0.95 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Okwiri Oduor was born in Nairobi, Kenya. Her short story "My Father's Head" won the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Granta, The New Inquiry, Kwani, and elsewhere. She has been a fellow at MacDowell and Art Omi and a visiting writer at the Lannan Center. Oduor has an MFA in creative writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She currently lives in Germany.


''A wondrous newborn -- mewling, dewy, twinkling, gurgling a tale steeped in the acrid surrealism of childhood, populated by wicked wraiths and held together by the vicious spell mothers can cast on their daughters.''
--Leila Aboulela, author of Bird Summons and Elsewhere, Home

"A narrative so profound, its humour shining so bright, that you'd think the author had written hundreds of books to have mastered the art of perpetual storytelling. A stunning debut!"
--Onyeka Nwelue, author of The Strangers of Braamfontein

"Otherworldly, unconventional, delectably surreal. One of the most magical and exhilarating introductions to a main character. Okwiri has taken language, sculpted something new and splendid out of it to deliver to the world. An array of some of the most memorable 'in-between-worlds' characters enter the literary world from Mapeli Town with aplomb. What a debut! What a gift!"
--Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, author of Dust and The Dragonfly Sea

"A coming-of-age tale that deftly refuses to play magic realism straight, Okwiri Oduor's Things they Lost blends the phantasmagoria of Tutuola's The Palm-Wine Drinkard with the deadpan, wry humour of Bolaño. A welcome new Kenyan voice."
--Olufemi Terry, author of "Stickfighting Days" and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing
"From the start, Oduor -- a winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, among other honors -- broadcasts her tremendous talents ... Come for the beguiling narrative, and stay for the rich, evocative language."
--Vulture, Most Anticipated of 2022

"An extraordinary tale about love, longing, and the bond between mothers and daughters."
--Vogue, 25 Books by Black Authors We Can't Wait to Read in 2022

"Oduor renders this fantastical world so tangibly it almost leaps off the page--a feat aided by her stunning language ... this novel is lively and original; it is a captivating journey from start to finish. A joy to read."
--Kirkus, STARRED review

"There are a small cadre of authors who redefine literary genres, writing freely without barriers. First-time novelist Oduor joins this exclusive literary club ... a riveting story about love, friendship, and belonging, transporting the reader to a whimsical yet heartbreaking world. This tale of mystery and longing is reminiscent of works by Ngugi wa Thiong'o and perfect for fans of Akwaeke Emezi."

"A haunting bond between mother and daughter is examined in Oduor's ambitious debut ... Oduor makes loss and familial disappointment palpable through her potent and visceral prose. This keeps the reader holding their breath."
--Publishers Weekly