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Reviews of Noor by Nnedi Okorafor

Noor

by Nnedi Okorafor

Noor by Nnedi Okorafor X
Noor by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2021, 224 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2022, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
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About this Book

Book Summary

From African futurist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.

Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt...natural, and that's putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was "wrong". But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong.

Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the "reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist" and the "saga of the wicked woman and mad man" unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn't so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.

What Kind of Woman Are You?

48 HOURS EARLIER ...

It was late when I got home. I switched the light on in my bedroom and a startled gecko rushed up my wall and tried to hide near the ceiling. "Oh, not today," I muttered. Then I spent the next hour trying to catch it. Thankfully, the thing escaped out the window. Wall geckos have always bothered me, and the thought of sleeping with one in my bedroom made me angry. On top of this, my headache was back. I knew I wasn't going to sleep well.

I drifted into normal sleep just as the sun was rising. I think. I don't quite remember. I was in my bed facing the window, rubbing my temples. My headache wasn't ready to let up, thumping its drumbeat as if it wanted my spirit to go some­where else. I was gazing across the Abuja building tops, there was a go‑slow in the distance and I remember feeling glad that I didn't have to be in it. These days, I rarely had to travel on the highway, anyway, thanks to the auto shop being only two miles...

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Reviews

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BookBrowse

Aside from a few moments that arrive rather abruptly, feeling shoehorned in to further the story at convenient moments, Okorafor's worldbuilding and characterization are handled with skill. The book says much about community and resistance in the face of corruption without ever feeling heavy-handed. That's because, for all its big and resonant themes, Noor is also a fun sci-fi romp. AO is an endearing, complex heroine who is easy to root for, and Okorafor deftly weaves her social commentary into a story that is driven first and foremost by adventure, hope and compassion...continued

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(Reviewed by Callum McLaughlin).

Media Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
The novel's true magic lies in AO's stubborn, fierce will; in DNA's earthy compassion; and in their self-discovery and refusal to give into a power system determined to dehumanize and defeat them.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Okorafor has defined Africanfuturism, once and for all, in this tale of scapegoats and revolutionaries...A searing techno-magical indictment of capitalism from one of the strongest voices in fiction.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A probing, brilliant near-future odyssey...Okorafor exposes the cracks in this technology-driven, highly surveilled society as each detour in AO and DNA's route adds layers of intrigue on the way to a jaw-dropping finale. Frequent instances of suicidal ideation may be triggering to some readers, but Okorafor handles heavy subjects well. This is a must-read.

Library Journal
The timely themes will inspire readers to ask the same hard questions of themselves that the main characters do: who has ultimate control over individuals if we rely so much on what others create and provide for us? Okorafor packs swift action and harsh emotions into this slim novella, showing her strengths once again as a speculative fiction writer.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

The Life Changing Reality of Bionic Limbs

Bionic arm on a table beside the realistic prosthetic hand that will cover itThe protagonist of Nnedi Okorafor's novel Noor has undergone a number of procedures and augmentations to reduce her physical discomfort and improve her standard of living. Born with missing and deformed limbs, and injured years later in a car accident, being fitted with sophisticated bionic limbs grants her the strength — both physical and mental — that she was denied by circumstance during her youth. Though the book is set in the future, and thus employs some creative liberties, the technology being discussed by the author is based firmly in very real scientific and medical practices taking place now.

More than one million limb amputations are performed globally each year. In total, an estimated 2.2 million Americans are ...

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