“It was in the painting that I first saw myself as countless suitors had often described me. Before then, I would frown at my face in a hand-held mirror, wondering what they saw that made me so beautiful in their eyes.”
The powerful second novel - about grief, love, motherhood and breaking the rules - from one of the most exciting new literary voices in contemporary African writing
Everyone says that Ese is the most beautiful woman in the region, but a fool. A young widow, she lives in a village, where the crops grow tall and the people are ruled over by a Chief on a white horse. She married for love, but now her husband is dead, leaving her with nothing but a market stall and a young son to feed.
When the Chief knocks on Ese’s door demanding that she marry again, as the laws of the land dictate she must, Ese is a fool once more. There is a high price for breaking the law, and an even greater cost for breaking the heart of a Chief. Ese will face the wrath of gods and men in the fight to preserve her heart, to keep her son and to right centuries of wrongs. She will change the lives of many on the road to freedom, and she will face the greatest pain a mother ever can.
Wake Me When I’m Gone is a story of curses broken and lives remade, of great tragedy and incredible rebirth. In this, his second novel, Nigerian writer Odafe Atogun unfolds a world rich with tradition and folklore, a world filled with incredible people of remarkable strength, a world that is changing fast.
“Atogun has combined folkloric elements with a strong central character to create a haunting and unusual narrative … beautiful and evocative”
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“A beautiful, dreamlike story which lingers in the mind and heart. There is oppression and tragedy, sincerely conveyed, but there is also remarkable triumph, a stunning rebirth and shimmering hope. A treat - especially for fans of Ben Okri and Elechi Amadi”
Leila Aboulela, Orange Prize-longlisted Author Of The Translator And Minaret
“[An] unforgettable new voice, writing in polished, gleaming prose”
”Praise for Taduno’s Song:‘A heartfelt and imaginative story told with sincerity and compassion”
Petina Gappah, Author Of An Elegy For Easterly And The Book Of Memory
“Burning with magic and loss, exile and return, beauty and heartache … a colossal epic”
Marlon James, Author Of A Brief History Of Seven Killings
Odafe Atogun was born in Nigeria, in the town of Lokoja, where the Rivers Niger and Benue meet, but hails from Edo State. Now a full-time writer, he is married and lives in Abuja.