Time of the Locust

Morowa Yejidé. Atria, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4767-3135-3
Short story writer Yejidé’s debut novel, a finalist in the PEN/Bellweather Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction in 2012, presents the harrowing but beautiful story, set in 1986, of a family in crisis, each member of which is given his or her own narrative voice. Brenda Thompson can barely cope with her life’s pressures. Her autistic son, Sephiri, favors a fantasy landscape inhabited by sea creatures over the real world, and her husband, Horus, is in prison for the revenge killing of the policeman who murdered his father. When Sephiri begins sketching his dreams, and draws a type of long-extinct locust, his caretakers ask Brenda if they can study him in depth. Horus, trying to survive the brutality of his prison, discovers that underneath the facility is a system of ancient tunnels, which he refers to as the catacombs. He also discovers that he has the ability to telepathically contact his son in dreams. Brenda, on the other hand, struggles to make any contact with her son. Beautiful prose conveys the sadness and fractured selves of these characters, who are both strong and fragile. The depth of pain can make for difficult reading, but the rendering of Sephiri’s interior life, in particular, is arresting, and the novel is challenging and memorable. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/14/2014
Release date: 06/10/2014
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4767-3136-0
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4767-3137-7
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