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Kabu Kabu

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,277 ratings  ·  219 reviews
Kabu Kabu - unregistered, illegal Nigerian taxis - generally get you where you need to go, but Nnedi Okorafor's Kabu Kabu takes the reader to exciting, fantastic, magical, occasionally dangerous, and always imaginative locations. This debut short story collection by award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor includes notable previously-published short work, a new novella co-writt ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Prime Books (first published September 29th 2013)
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Ashley I really enjoyed the story. My favorite thing is the ending simply because the story did not end the way I thought it would. The ending is unexpected …moreI really enjoyed the story. My favorite thing is the ending simply because the story did not end the way I thought it would. The ending is unexpected but fitting.(less)

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Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm very excited that you will all be able to finally read the novella that Alan Dean Foster and I wrote called Kabu Kabu. It's a trip (pun intended). And the story titled "The Black Stain" (a story from Who Fears Death) is some heavy heavy stuff. But I needed to write it. I have other favorites in here like The Magical Negro (that neeeever gets old) and the Arro-yo stories (the first windseeker I wrote about. Writing about her led to Zahrah). There are stories about hardcore hunchbacks, magic c ...more
Sheeeit," he drawled, looking directly at you. "You need to stop reading all this stupidness. The Magical Negro ain't about to get his ass kicked no more. Them days is ovah."

I've always been uncertain of Nnedi Okorafor's work. Her stories are so incredibly inventive, her language sings with vivid descriptions of the most bizarre and previously unimaginable things, but in novel form it all just falls apart. Something in the plotting and the stepping from place to place lets gaps appear - chasms r
K.J. Charles
A collection of short stories, all powerful, with a motor of rage driving a lot of them, about misogyny and male entitlement and corruption and racism and the exploitation of the Niger delta and more. Okorafor has a wild and vivid imagination, and this is quite an overview of the things that gnarl in her mind (the near-tentacular hair in Binti is reflected in her stories of the Windseekers, people who can fly). What did really strike me was how much better she's got since her early work, in comm ...more
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
A wonderful collection of fantastical short stories. While I love fantasy in general, fantasy short fiction is often a tougher sell for me - the word limit means that stories aren't often given a chance to breathe, and they lack that sense of space that I love in the best fantasy literature. Nnedi Okorafor is able to avoid that problem by making most of her stories about magic encroaching on real people and real places, concerned less with world-building than with imbuing an existing world with ...more
'Kabu Kabu', referring to the illegal taxis in Nigeria as well as the title-story, is my first encounter with the works of Nnedi Okorafor. I had seen some of her other works - Lagoon, Who Fears Death (translated to French in 2013, re-released in 2017, still popular: Qui a peur de la mort ?), and her Binti-series (the first two parts recently published in French, see Binti) -in some bookshops in the last few years, but was very reluctant to buy any of them.

Having a short-story collection like 'Ka
Friederike Knabe
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa, african-lit
Nnedi Okorafor's story collection KABU KABU, published in 2013, provides the reader with a fascinating glimpse into the author's rich imagination, vibrant language and captivating scenarios. Created at different stages in her extensive writing career, Okorafor treats us to a range of intriguing characters and their adventures, skilfully (and successfully) combining elements of speculative fiction and fantasy with African folklore and magical realism, and yes, indeed, political and social present ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-books
Are we done making animals the enemy ?!?

Okorafor's girl group try a shortcut into the jungle to go to school. Baboons defend their encroached territory, but Okorafor apparently still lives in 1905, and doesn't care. Yawn. Even Hindu mythology was more evolved millennia ago; Prince Rama befriended monkeys to defeat a king.

The author would've won my respect had she pinned the heroine against worthy equals: perhaps mean boys or village elders. Instead, the girl's intent was selfish, misguided and
Aug 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-freebie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There seems to be several very specific subgenres to immigrant fiction i.e. fiction written by and about immigrants. This one is definitely the nostalgic variant. Wherein an immigrant (first or second generation) author waxes nostalgic about the place their family was once so desperate to leave. No easy task, mind you, the country here is Nigeria and, as described in this book and other books I’ve read set there, categorically not a place you’d ever want to visit. To quote one of the characters ...more
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
In August I read Nnedi Okorafor's novel Who Fears Death (2010). It was my first experience with her writing in the long form and I found it to be one of the most thought-provoking novels I've read all year. When I saw Kabu Kabu, a short story collection published by Prime Books, pop up on NetGalley I jumped at the chance. Kabu Kabu is a very diverse set of stories. I guess you could call most of them fantasy or magical realism, sometimes with a bit of science fiction mixed in. It's one of th ...more
I think I have to conclude at this point that Okorafor is just Not For Me. There's nothing here I actively disliked, but there's something about Okorafor's rhythm and structure that made me struggle to stay focused. I'd read a few pages and then find my mind wandering.

"The Carpet" was probably my favorite story; I think the fact that so much of it is based on Okorafor's personal experiences may lend it more immediacy. Other stories, like "On the Road" and "The Popular Mechanic" had concepts and
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was my first exposure to Nnedi Okorafor's work but it certainly won't be my last. I listened to the audiobook on and off and the different short stories were the perfect escapism - but with so much substance. They often took me by surprise, taught me a lot, and were just so unpredictable and fun. I can't wait to read a whole novel by her so that I can be taken on a longer journey where the story can unfold in more detail (although I was struck by how well-developed they all were). Such a wi ...more
My favorite stories were:

Kabu Kabu
How Inyang Got Her Wings
On the Road
The Winds of Harmattan
The Palm Tree Bandit
Zoe Brooks
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic-realism
Nnedi Okorafor is an American-born daughter of Igbo Nigerian parents and that mix of cultures is just perfect for the writing of magic realism. This collection of short stories draws on Okorafor's West African roots more than her American life. But the writer being American brings an outsider's point of view. The eponymous story is a good example of that. A successful American lawyer hails an illegal taxi (kabu kabu) to take to the airport for her flight to a family wedding in Nigeria, but the t ...more
Grace Troxel
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

You know that feeling when you read something by an author and then are like “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!” because you’re blown away by these vast and rich worlds that are different that anything you’ve read about in your entire life, and you can’t stop thinking about the stories for weeks? That’s how I felt after reading Kabu Kabu, a collection of short stories by Nnedi Okorafor.
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The eponymous short story in this collection is about a kabu kabu, an illegal or, preferably, unofficial Nigerian cab service. Ngozi, a Chicago lawyer, is running late on her way to the airport. Her sister is engaged to a suitor Ngozi doesn't agree with, but she needs to be by her side anyways. She inexplicably comes onto a kabu kabu on the streets of Chicago. She gets on and quickly loses control of her destination. She's along for the ride whether she wants to or not.

Now that's exactly what Nn
Marie Michaels
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I was really excited to read this short story collection as a big fan of her novel "Akata Witch," and her other novels are on my to-read list. There are some great stories in here, particularly the title story about a very unusual taxi. I also enjoyed some recurring characters through this collection, which is rather unusual for short story collections. The settings are wonderful and present such a universe than most fantasy inhabits.

That said, this book felt less polished and less emotionally
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, award-nom
2.5 stars
I saw a review - Far Beyond Reality, maybe? - that suggested this collection should be viewed in some ways as a scrapbook. I'm glad I read that, since it had me a little confused. The confident storyteller of Akata Witch and Who Fears Death stumbles here and there within this collection. As I read the story notes, though, I realized that Okorafor was letting us behind the curtain. The first story she ever wrote is included here, and several stories culled from a trunked novel. Others serve as ba ...more
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Delightful and often serious short stories from Nnedi Okorafor, set mostly in Nigeria or the Niger Delta. The collection begins with a bang with "The Magical Negro", moves into the realm of the mystical with "Kabu Kabu" and takes a serious tone with "The Black Stain." Pieces such as "Long Juju Man" and "The Carpet" read like folktales and encourage to reader to open their mind to the possibilities. All in all, Nnedi does a wonderful job of showing the reader another world.
It's definitely inconsistent in terms of writing style and narrative, but I like so many of the ideas. I also just really like reading fantasy/magic realism/sci fi set in uncommon places and cultures (for those genres). I really liked The Black Stain and Spider the Artist in particular. Many others I liked at the beginning but they sort of trailed off at the end. Not a solid collection necessarily but I like Okorafor and will be reading more of her stuff!
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free as part of the goodreads first reads giveaway. This collection of short stories is amazing. Every story in this book is as vivid and engaging and immersive as you could ask for in a group of short stories. I loved every single one and I can't wait to read more by this author. On a side note I would love to read 'The Legend of Arro-yo' if it is ever published.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
A lot of hits and a few misses here for me. The first story, "The Magical Negro", is only 3 pages long, and is maybe still my favorite of the bunch. I enjoyed all the stories, "How Inyang Got Her Wings" and "The Winds of Harmattan" to name a few, that gave me glimpses of the Windseekers (and reminded me I need to FINALLY read Okorafor's "Zahrah the Windseeker" ;___;).
Tim Childree
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every single story in this collection is wonderful, and "The Palm Tree Bandit" is the perfect conclusion to a collection that is at times joyful, at times snarky, at times devastating, and always beautiful. Highly recommended collection!
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, exuberant, fascinating stories of magic realism in the modern world.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I bought this e-book as part of a StoryBundle with African science-fiction and fantasy, this was as a matter of fact the first book I've read. It's a collection of short stories, making for good, pool-side reading, or as the case might be, while you're undergoing physiotherapy.
Most stories are actually magical realism: small, magical elements creeping into the daily life of Nigerian expatriates living now in the US; like a lawyer going taking a taxi to to go the airport to catch a flight to Nige
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some books of short stories have in them stories intended to stand alone, while others are more like sketchbooks to highlight the ideas and impulses of their author. This book of stories is clearly in the latter category, but this does not detract from the wonders of the amazing, fertile mind of Nnedi Okorafor. She probes several different characters and situations; her process is visible in the explorations, and a delight to witness.

These stories are all based in Africa, mostly in Nigeria. Many
David H.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This slim book collects 21 of Nnedi Okorafor's short stories (one of which was cowritten with Alan Dean Foster), and I definitely recommend it to any Okorafor fans. My favorite stories were "Kabu Kabu," "Spider the Artist," "The Winds of Harmattan," "The Baboon War," "Asunder," and "The Palm Tree Bandit." Most were fantasy or mixed fantasy/science fiction, with several set in historical time periods.

Okorafor really mines her personal experience here (such as any mentions of Chicago, lawyers, the
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Sheeeit", he drawled, looking directly at you. "You need to stop reading all this stupidness. The Magical Negro ain't about to get his ass kicked no more. Them days is ovah."
The influence of ancestry and heritage is felt in every story within this short story collection.
Whether it be through beliefs, rituals, culture, struggles or successes, Nnedi spins engaging, riveting stories that are just lush with Nigerian and African -isms.
The stories are oft times connected by charac
David Raz
I got this book as part of the "Super Nebula Author Showcase presented by SFWA" Humble Book Bundle.
This is certainly a mixed bunch. The setting in Nigeria is certainly the strong part, as I never read anything like it. I certainly like the feeling of something fresh and different.
On the other hand there was a strong sense of repetitiveness, especially in the windseeker stories. As this was my backup book (I always have one on my cellphone for places where I get stuck without a paper book), I rea
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Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of African-based science fiction and fantasy (Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism). Okorafor has won a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award, and a Locus Award, and her many fans include Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, John Green, and Ursula Le Guin. She is writing a series for Marvel about Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, and has a number of book-based project ...more

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