Set in Ichulu, an Igbo village where the people’s worship of their gods is absolute. Their adherence to tradition has allowed them to evade the influences of colonialism and globalization. But the village is reckoning with changes, including a war between gods signaled by Ijeoma, a girl who can fly.
... dazzling and disquieting ... with robust descriptions, Igboland is a vibrant landscape replete with a nightmarish evil forest, comforting compounds, and the serene Idemili river. Once the lens shifts to Amalike, the folkloric prose, which is written as if translated from Igbo, shifts to a Western style that coincides with Ijeoma’s learning of English and forced Bible study ... Rife with magical realism and full of promise, the novel God of Mercy undertakes a scrupulous review of the destructive power of colonialism through an imprisoned, gifted girl.
Tradition and change clash to devastating effect in Okezie Nwoka's compelling and heartrending debut ... Nwoka writes with a sure rhythm all their own, slipping easily between structured passages and stream of consciousness inner monologues. Alternating between third-person narrative and the diary entries of a mysterious prisoner, God of Mercy translates major religious conflicts to a small, personal scale ... While the front matter includes a map and cast of characters, Nwoka trusts readers to follow the story without much expository cultural background, and the result feels authentic and organic. Book clubs looking for stories to inspire deep discussion need look no further.
Nwọka’s debut feels like a dream, or a fable, or something in between ... Nwọka uses epistolary passages as well as lyrical prose to tell a personal yet magical story. Recommended for fans of Nnedi Okorafor’s Remote Control or Nghi Vo’s The Empress of Salt and Fortune.