Saturday, May 28, 2022

Rosewater, by Tade Thompson

Kaaro can find things. He can read people's minds and switch into a sort of psychic internet thing - so long as he's not lathered himself in anti-fungal cream. He's one of a number of "sensitives" working for the Nigerian government, trying to puzzle out - among other things - why America has gone silent, and what the aliens in London might want...

This is a gripping, intelligent thriller, full of big, mad ideas and images. The world Thompson has created is rich enough for multiple stories - this is the first of a trilogy, and in the closing pages we discover someone close to Kaaro does not think of herself as a supporting character but is the heroine of her own tale.

Bayo Gbadamosi's reading of the audiobook is especially good, giving voice to an array of different characters. It's suspenseful, it's weird and visceral, and has that brilliant science-fiction thing of being at once utterly extraordinary and also tangibly real. 

Rosewater won the Clarke Award in 2019. Other books on the shortlist were Semiosis by Sue Burke, Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, and The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley.

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