Nnedi Okorafor
Lagoon Cover



I liked this book, but I wanted to like it more than I did. Ultimately, I think that this book is trying to do too much and doesn't settle on one thing that it's trying to do.

Lagoon opens up several different themes including the corruption of organized religion, the way that religious leaders disenfranchise women, the difficulty of mixing class and ethnic tensions in Lagos, what responsibility a woman has to her husband (if any), what responsibility a man has to his wife/wives (if any), and political corruption. Unfortunately, since the book is dealing with so much in such a short narrative, I'm not sure these themes get explored fully and the conclusions of plot threads often feel appropriate but thin.

Lagoon was originally conceived as a reaction to District 9 and it's stereotypical portrayal of Nigerians. I think this explains why the book reads like part screenplay, part folklore. The scenes are choppy and the cast of characters is huge for how short a book this is. It can be difficult to keep all the characters and relationships straight, especially through the first two acts, simply because there are so many of them.

I am glad I read Lagoon; it was compelling and I wanted to see what happened next, but I did not savor the experience of reading it.