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Nudibranch

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  45 reviews

GUARDIAN MUST READ BOOKS OF 2019

'Okojie is a dazzlingly wild, bold and imaginative writer who tells stories with captivating originality and intense drama' Bernardine Evaristo
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In thisstunning new collection of short stories from the award-winning author of Butterfly Fish, offbeat characters are caught up in extraordinary situations that test the b

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Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published November 7th 2019 by Dialogue Books
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Average rating 3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  147 ratings  ·  45 reviews


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Joseph
There’s speculative fiction. There’s weird fiction. And then there’s the fiction of Irenosen Okojie, where the term “weird” is taken not just to another level, but another dimension. The fifteen stories in “Nudibranch” are mostly (but not always) set in recognisable places: the streets of London and Berlin, a monastery (somewhere in England?), an international airport. Yet, what happens in them is almost so bizarre as to be incomprehensible. One story, for instance, features time-travelling monk ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
DNF - Throwing in the towel on this one. Many of the stories are random and confusing to me.
Blair
If books were drugs, Nudibranch would surely be hallucinogenic. 'Wildly inventive' doesn't even begin to cover the kaleidoscopic strangeness of Irenosen Okojie's stories, in which concepts like 'logic' and 'reality' are not only dispensed with; they seem never to have existed in the first place. The first piece, 'Logarithm', is perhaps an indication of this, a cipher or a warning – it's a two-page list of sentences beginning 'Here is...', in which the relatively mundane (a river, a mirror, a yam ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
(#gifted @dialoguebooks) It took me a while to write this review, and although I wrote down my thoughts on every story as I read this book, going back to them wasn’t exactly helpful. I had written things like ‘paint-balling gone wrong’, ‘woman transforms into liquorice’, and ‘time-travelling, gender-morphing, procoptodon-transforming monks’... all of which, to be honest, can give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you go into Nudibranch - the unexpected.
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I think I prefer fantasy over ma
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Alex
Jan 21, 2020 marked it as to-read
This is a whole ass book called Nudibranch.
Carolien
Apr 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how to rate this collection of short stories as it is way out of my comfort zone. The stories are well-written, but very weird. If you enjoy magical realism and would like to read more experimental stories in this genre, I would recommend this.

Irenosen Okojie won the Caine Prize for African Fiction in 2020. Grace Jones which was the Caine Prize winning story and is part of this collection may be read here: https://static1.squarespace.com/stati...
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Amyn
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Nudibranch is an acquired taste. From reading Machado and Scheweblin, I felt I would have been groomed enough to properly enjoy this collection but I realize what makes me love the other two more. Plot. Even in their weirdness, there was a plot to follow, Nudibranch is more abstract, like a concept that you need to take your time to stew over. Her imagination is vivid though, I wonder what she must have been smoking or drinking when working on this because I want some.
Helen McClory
Surrealism and repeating motifs - splitting migraines, yolks, tongues - brim over in this book. I'm still processing. Going to be a while, I think. ...more
Laura
Oct 11, 2019 rated it liked it
When I was a teenager, I was absorbed by A.S. Byatt's 'The Stone Woman', about a woman who is gradually turning into stone. Much more recently, Sarah Hall's memorable 'Mrs Fox' told the story of a woman who turns into a fox, although from the point of view of her husband. Therefore, the premise of the first full-length story in Nudibranch, Irenosen Okojie's new short story collection 'Kookaburra Sweet' - which is about a woman who turns into liquorice - wasn't in itself off-putting. I sometimes ...more
Rebekah Lattin-rawstrone
Metamorphosis is the word I would use to summarise this collection, the second one from Irenosen Okojie. Everything is poised to become something else, to be shifted under the imaginative eye of an author who isn’t afraid to stretch our conception of reality and pull it into new shapes. Her language is full of unusual simile, revealing how the ordinary world is steeped in myth and fairytale.
There is something of Angela Carter in the transformations, in the interest in circus, witches, wolves,
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Amanda
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Transformations, turning points and trajectories.

This short story collection is populated by Grace Jones impersonators, sea goddesses and time-hopping vagrants. Characters reinvent themselves (Grace Jones and Komza Bright Morning), they grapple with situations not of their making (the loss or absence of a child is a recurring theme), and they find themselves at turning points, recognising, too late, the trajectories they might have taken (Kookaburra Sweet and Cornutopia).

The collection opens wit
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Paul Dembina
I really didn't get on with this collection at all. The stories just did not grab my attention.
Also, what's with the obsession with yolks (and, to a lesser degree, tongues)?
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Claire (Silver Linings and Pages)

I’m still getting into the way of reading short stories, so I find them tricky to review, but this is one of the most striking collections I’ve read so far. It’s edgy, experimental, bold and otherworldly. My favourite story is Point and Trill, which I’d describe as a thriller that examines humanity’s most primeval instincts. When it came to the end I wanted to read more, the sign of a great story! A few of the stories went slightly over my head, but I just went with the flow and enjoyed the imag
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Sarah Talbot
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. The short story format was used really well, with multiple stories staying with me days after reading them. I particularly loved Grace Jones, Point & Trill, Nudibranch, and Cornutopia. There were elements from every genre, mixed surrealism that reminded me of David Lynch. I would highly recommend.
Rach Stanton
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
Didn’t get on with this collection of short stories, read to over the half way mark before finding to any characters I could connect with.
James
This is a somewhat unpredictable collection of short stories. Okojie is a deft writer with an ear for inventive bold imagery and action; however the writing style is often uneven, lyrical in one section, then tangled in the next. The quirky plots do not always work: the trope of the 'woman' metamorphosis feels random in some stories then too obvious in others. Okojie seems more interested in the end-product, and its 'shock value', rather than exploring the act of transformation itself. I guess i ...more
Adri Joy
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection is one where the situation and format in which I read it made a huge difference to my interpretation and enjoyment. Having originally picked this up as an ARC, I'd been fitting in stories here and there around my commute, but I was bouncing off most of them as my exhausted Tuesday-brain struggled to put together the weirdness and to switch from one story to the next (the formatting, which didn't have page breaks after each story, really didn't help with this) . Frustrated but not ...more
KtotheC
There were some great stories but I think overall the collection wasn't for me. There are some really original ideas but I felt a bit like I was drowning some of the time, with nothing to grasp onto and no idea of what was actually happening/ what was metaphor. The first story, the one with the Grace Jones impersonator, and the one that felt like a horror that started with the couple driving to meet friends in the country were the standouts for me. ...more
Hayley
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The stories in this book were poetic, strange, otherwordly and haunting.
It's rare to read something so unusually vivid, but that makes the stories linger and stay with you for a while after you've read them.
I thoroughly enjoyed. I would read this again as well as being open to reading other works by Okojie. I would definitely recommend.
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Alan
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting collection of short stories, often in the realms of magic realism or symbolism. Throughout the collection, the motif of transformation dominates: a woman wakes up to find she has turned into a piece of liquorice; a group of friends gather for an evening of paintball only for it to turn into an horrific gore-fest; a woman earns her living by impersonating Grace Jones; people literally shed their outer skin and become something other...

Okojie is clearly a wonderful writer, h
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The Hypenated Reader (Esther)
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nudibranch was a fun and at times difficult read - these are both good things. The only reading experience that I can say was as entertaining and challenging as Nudibranch is Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties. Like Machado, Okojie has written a collection of genre-bending, experimental stories that present more questions than answers. I loved that Okojie's writing is so divinely unpredictable and leaves me, at times, thinking deeply about her stories well after I have read them. ...more
Sara Saab
2.5, rounded up. For me, the experience of reading these stories was that of watching a fairly entertaining tv show only to have the antenna cut out at regular intervals, reducing the screen to salt-and-pepper static.

I love experimental fiction and the weird. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I'd define experimental fiction while reading this volume. But I can't say that sentences with subject / object confusion, being blindsided by sudden physical / scene blocking impossibilities during
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Áine O'Connell
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lyrical, strange, difficult and haunting, Nudibranch is quite unlike any short story collection you will read. The kaleidoscopic collection takes the reader from the grey streets of London, to the shores of tropical islands, from the present to 18th century Prussia. The writing is intensely strange, and often difficult to grapple with. The stories demand attention, and I found myself re-reading pages to get to grips with the surrealism. It rewards in buckets, though - Irenosen Okojie has a real ...more
Olubukola
Butterfly Fish was the first work by Irenosen Okojie that I read, and the writing blew me away. She writes so beautifully, so elegantly, her prose reads almost like poetry. Her writing in Nudibranch is no different. The stories in this collection are only different from Butterfly Fish in the sense that they are more 'daring;' almost testing the limits of your imagination. But once you surrender to the magic of Okojie's pen, you're in for a wonderful ride. ...more
Samoyes
Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
This is a whirlwind of a book. It defies the reader with twisted metaphors and non-linear plot, so much so that I was often lost. It took getting to the end of several of these stories for me to understand. However, those stories that are not muddled with metaphor and have a clear plot are amazing. For that reason, I have given this book 3 stars. Irenosen can write! I just can’t understand it all the time.
Leonie Nicks
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Quite unlike anything I've ever read before, short stories that combine fantasy, horror, at time gore, and tons and tons of metaphor. I really enjoyed the novelty and imaginative nature of it. Reminds you that there are radically different ways to think about and imagine the world. Normally I don't really like short stories, but in the style of these stories I think a full novel of one storyline would've become too much. They suited being short snapshots. ...more
e.m.
Mar 27, 2021 rated it liked it
2 or 3 stars currently.

I ordinarily love weird stories but I do need there to be some ... story.

I completely appreciate the absolutely incredible imagination and word wrangling dexterity that has gone into this collection, but I’m not vibing it. At. All.

I am having an intense time at work so perhaps my brain is defunct of capacity to dive into the realm of logic (of lack of) these stories require. I may attempt to return to them at a later date.
Kelli
Apr 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
After reading over half of this book and not enjoying (or even really understanding) one story I am going to have to dnf this one. I was really excited to read it because I love the short story format and love sci fi and speculative fiction. But if I can’t even understand what is going on then I just lose interest.

Maybe someone else with a bit more literary patience or imagination would love this collection though. The themes were definitely unique just not for me.
Gloria
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I think this wasn't the read I needed at the moment, but I really loved Okojie's weird turns, macro-micro queer and syncretic kaleidoscopes. The writing is frustratingly patchy for me - some incredible magic but also some really cliched, adverb-heavy metaphor. There's some really excellent stories in this collection though - worth a wander. ...more
Catherine McNamara
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
A luscious and beautifully instinctive journey, with insight, originality, and rule-breaking immersion in story. Stories that trigger sensations, stories that compel, sentences that uncoil and overturn you with their impact and charge. Favs include 'Kookaburra Sweet', 'Nudibranch' and 'Grace Jones'. ...more
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Irenosen Okojie was born in Nigeria and moved to England aged eight. A freelance Arts Project Manager, she has previously worked at Apples & Snakes as the National Development Coordinator and for The Caine Prize as a Publicity Officer for their 10th Anniversary Tour. Her short stories have been published in the US, Africa and the UK. Her first novel, Butterfly Fish, was published by Jacaranda Book ...more

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