A Nigerian Catcher in the Rye, Uchenna Awoke’s masterful debut breaks the silence about a hidden and dangerous contemporary caste system
Fifteen-year-old Dimkpa dreams of the day his father will be made village head. He will return to school and maybe even go on to university; his mother will no longer have to break her back foraging wild food to sell at market; they will have the money to build a fine tomb for his aunt Okike; and his family’s status as ohu ma, the lowest Igbo caste, won’t matter anymore. But when his father is passed over for a younger man, breaking tradition, Dimkpa realizes that he must make his own fate.
Journeying from his small village in rural Nigeria, to Lagos, Awka, and home again, Dimkpa learns that no money is easy money, that superstition runs deep, that knowledge is power, and that sometimes it is better to live in the present than to always be chasing a future just out of reach.
The Liquid Eye of a Moon is by turns hilarious and poignant, capturing all the messiness of adolescence, and the difficulty of making your own way in a world that seeks to oppress you.
About the Author
UCHENNA AWOKE lives and writes in Nsukka, Nigeria. His short stories have appeared in Transition, Elsewhere Lit, Trestle Ties, Oyster River Pages, The Evergreen Review, and other places. He received fellowships from MacDowell and the Vermont Studio Center in 2017 and 2019 respectively. He is an Artist Protection Fund Fellow and the inaugural Arkansas International Writer-at-Risk Residency Fellow, currently living in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is also a 2019 Graywolf Africa Prize finalist. The Liquid Eye of a Moon is his debut novel.
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"A poignant and punching coming-of-age with bewitching prose and memorable characters." —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful
"Deeply committed to class and the clash of tradition with modernity, The Liquid Eye of a Moon is a [...] stoic coming of age story without any of Holden Caulfield’s phony fussing." —Literary Hub
"After reading only the first paragraph of The Liquid Eye of a Moon, I knew this story was special. Awoke's prose is immersive and alive, and you sink into it without effort. I had to blink a few times whenever I stopped reading, and I always looked forward to sinking back in. A beautiful coming-of-age story I will not forget." —Mary Adkins, author of Palm Beach
"In The Liquid Eye of a Moon, Uchenna Awoke casts a spell that is at once enchanting and haunting. An important story full of love and wonder, family and culture, strife and tribulation—this is not your typical debut novel. You are in the hands of a masterful storyteller, one whose grace and lyricism will win you over and then burrow deep inside the muck and marrow of your soul where it will remain for a long time." —Robert Lopez, author of Dispatches From Puerto Nowhere