Okri is a master in knowing what is better left unsaid. He trusts the minds and imaginations of his readers to fill in the absences. Okri does not name the boy or his feelings in the tense moment before he and the world around him are ripped to shreds. He does not describe the rubble and the shock of this calamity. Yet the reader can feel it all poignantly ... Though Okri’s stories rarely surpass a handful of pages, their brevity does not make Prayer for the Living a quick read. I found myself compelled to go over the same pages and stories multiple times. Within the shortness of Okri’s texts lie their multitudes; each word chosen is vital. While the text is often enigmatic, it leaves just enough room for a reader to untangle the webs Okri weaves. Okri’s style often drifts toward the poetic. He repeats structures and themes, creating cohesion and reinforcing important messages across his stories which can seem disparate at face value but are often intertwined in meaning ... By the time readers have settled into one story, the next one has already begun; however, these transitions never feel jarring. I found myself effortlessly swept up in Okri’s different worlds ... My heart sped up, my stomach dropped, I gasped, I laughed, I closed the book and gazed out the window for a few minutes then came back and opened the book again.
Booker-winner Okri delivers a sprawling collection that spans continents, centuries, and the border between the real and the supernatural. Told in alternating flash fictions and longer works, the stories all evoke the cadence of origin myths and oral history ... These visceral, brief depictions of violence and fear are the most powerful of the collection. This is as an essential reminder of the timeless and vital nature of storytelling.
A career-spanning story collection from the Booker Prize–winning Nigerian writer that navigates the blurry line between dream and reality .. Okri’s stories are so concerned with myth and folklore, and so comfortable in the style of those genres, that his best ones sometimes feel as if written on parchment or chiseled in granite ... Okri often plays with form, as in two stories written in a flash-fiction style he calls 'stoku,' a portmanteau of story and haiku. But throughout, Okri skillfully embeds abstract ideas in concrete, engaging storytelling. A diverse yet consistent collection, mind-bending and provocative in a host of styles and milieus.