We are thrilled to share a roundup of rave reviews for NANIKI by Oonya Kempadoo!

“A piece of speculative climate fiction, Naniki is a love letter to the Caribbean and its light-flecked waters. Despite its critical content, it is playful, refreshing, and luminous, inspiring an almost childlike curiosity and urge for exploration, while illustrating the importance of understanding our past to safeguard our future.” — MONTREAL REVIEW OF BOOKS

“Time-bending, world-bending, heart-bending, Naniki is truly luminous … a lyrical spiritual Afro-Indigenous epic set in a climate ravaged Caribbean. Kempadoo has outdone herself: this is what happens when a book becomes a spell.” — Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

“Kempadoo’s engagement with Caribbean lore and mythology is spellbinding, magical, and wonderfully lyrical.” — DON WINKLER, Governor General Award-winning literary translator

 “This work is wonderful, brilliant, surreal and unlike anything I’ve read before in Caribbean Lit. Its plot has utopian and dystopian elements merging into each other, most times, without acknowledging differentiation. The work is a fable, a parable, and a mythic tale, spun together into a movement of sound and colour and form, but underpinned by abstraction, metaphor and a radical philosophy of being. A merging of land, sea and air into being that then creates a harmony where love exists on so many planes simultaneously that physical contact may or may not happen and/or it is happening all the time. Layer upon layer of ambiguity that transcends limitations because there is unspoken agreement about all things being possible.” — RAMABAI ESPINET, author of The Swinging Bridge

About the book:

Through luminescent light, ancestral paths, and a Caribbean spirit-inflected world, NANIKI explores the musings and inner workings of the deep blue — the Caribbean Sea — and its shape-shifting sea beings.

As the sea mirrors the light from the blue skies, and its depths are exposed by daggers of sunlight, so too Naniki reveals and honours the Indigenous roots of the Caribbean and its people, whose destiny is tied to the sea, the vessel of collective memory.

Amana and Skelele are made of water and air, their essence intertwined with Taino and African ancestry. They evolved as elemental beings of the Anthropocene, and shape-shifting with their naniki (active spirits) or animal avatars, they begin an archipelagic journey throughout the Caribbean Basin to see the strange future they dreamed of. Until devastation erupts.

Tasked by their elders to go back in time to the source of the First People’s knowledge, they must surmount historical and mythological challenges alike. How can they navigate and overcome these obstacles to regenerate themselves, their love, their islands, and their seas?

About the author:

Oonya Kempadoo is the author of three novels and is critically acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. A creative practitioner with an interest in cross-disciplinary dialogue, she is a citizen of England, Guyana, and Grenada, and currently lives in Montreal.

Oonya is represented by Carolyn Forde and Amanda Orozco.