cover image Little Rot

Little Rot

Akwaeke Emezi. Riverhead, $29 (288p) ISBN 978-0-525-54163-9

Emezi (The Death of Vivek Oji) unspools a web of erotic danger in their entertaining latest. Kalu, a young man in New Lagos, Nigeria, is dumped by Aima, his girlfriend of four years. That night, Kalu attends a high-priced sex party run by his friend Ahmed. There, Kalu witnesses an older man having sex with a handcuffed younger woman who appears to be a teen. Believing he is witnessing a rape, Kalu forcefully pulls the older man away, to the chagrin of Ahmed, who claims it was all consensual role play and that the man, a megachurch pastor known as Daddy O, is a good customer. As the narrative shifts focus from one member of Aima and Kalu’s wealthy world to the next, subplots, side characters, and sex scenes abound. Meanwhile, Kalu finds himself in increasing peril, as an incensed Daddy O calls for his murder. Emezi keeps the proliferating plotlines together by the power of coincidence—a crucial set of keys appears at just the right time, as does a hidden wad of cash—which gives the story both the convolution and the pleasure of a soap opera. Readers in search of a decadent good time will find it here. Agent: Jacqueline Ko, Wylie Agency. (June)