Nudibranch by Irenosen Okojie

Leave your expectations at the front cover, and dive into Irenosen Okojie's immersive and darkly surreal short story collection

Book Review by Emily Hay | 07 Nov 2019
  • Nudibranch - Irenosen Okojie
Book title: Nudibranch
Author: Irenosen Okojie

The problem with short stories is that they’re short. Just as you’re getting into the plot and characters suddenly they’re gone; the floor and walls drop away from you and you’re left standing in an entirely new room, waiting for it all to begin again. It leaves you bare and exposed to new kinds of narratives, ones which you may not quite have bargained for.

This is no truer than in Nudibranch by Irenosen Okojie, a foray down the rabbit hole into the dark and surreal. A late-night paintball game turns into a macabre erotic nightmare; the victim of a vicious attack begins a drug trial which descends into a twilight zone of unease. Leave your expectations at page one, because Okojie is guaranteed to keep you guessing – not only from one narrative to the next, but within stories themselves.

The magic of reading Nudibranch is that wherever a story begins, you have simply no idea where it’s going to end. Each darkly surrealist room you enter features secret passageways aplenty. Okojie writes immersive prose you can get lost in, lulling you into a false sense of security only to turn everything upside down within the space of a sentence.

Disjointed, disorientating and unpredictable but in all the best ways, Nudibranch will leave you eager for more at every turn.

Dialogue Books, 7 Nov, £14.99