PROMISING DEBUT AUTHOR: Emelụmadụ’s writing has already received several awards, and Dazzling has received the Curtis Brown First Novel Prize, judged by Tracy Chevalier.
USES NIGERIAN LEGENDS: Those craving an accessible feminist counterpart to Black Leopard, Red Wolf or a more grounded, adult version of Children of Blood and Bone will find it in this utterly absorbing work of magical realism.
BOARDING SCHOOL BOOK: An entry in an ever-popular category, differentiated by its vivid Nigerian setting.
FILM POTENTIAL: The agent already has a film offer, and there is a TV deal for one of the author’s short stories.
The Girl with the Louding Voice meets The Water Dancer in Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ’s magical, award-winning literary debut, Dazzling, offering a new take on West African mythology.
Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s father died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a man who promises to change their fortunes, but his feet are hovering just a few inches above the ground. He’s a spirit, and he promises to bring Treasure’s beloved father back to life if she’ll do one terrible thing for him first.
Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back. It’s an itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, an honor never before bestowed upon a girl, to defend the land and protect its people by becoming a Leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honor this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less—she has enough to worry about as she tries to fit in at a new boarding school.
But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their missing fathers, Ozoemena’s fellow students start to vanish. Treasure’s obligations to the spirit escalate, and Ozoemena’s duty of protection as a Leopard grows. Soon the girls’ destinies and choices alike set them on a dangerous collision course. Ultimately, they must ask themselves: in a world that always says no to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?
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