A Stranger in Olondria
Jevick, the pepper merchant's son, has been raised on stories of Olondria, a distant land where books are as common as they are rare in his home. When his father dies and Jevick takes his place on the yearly selling trip to Olondria, Jevick's life is as close to perfect as he can imagine. But... show more
Jevick, the pepper merchant's son, has been raised on stories of Olondria, a distant land where books are as common as they are rare in his home. When his father dies and Jevick takes his place on the yearly selling trip to Olondria, Jevick's life is as close to perfect as he can imagine. But just as he revels in Olondria's Rabelaisian Feast of Birds, he is pulled drastically off course and becomes haunted by the ghost of an illiterate young girl.In desperation, Jevick seeks the aid of Olondrian priests and quickly becomes a pawn in the struggle between the empire's two most powerful cults. Yet even as the country shimmers on the cusp of war, he must face his ghost and learn her story before he has any chance of becoming free by setting her free: an ordeal that challenges his understanding of art and life, home and exile, and the limits of that seductive necromancy, reading.A Stranger in Olondria is a skillful and immersive debut fantasy novel that pulls the reader in deeper and deeper with twists and turns reminiscent of George R. R. Martin and Joe Hill.Sofia Samatar is an American of Somali and Swiss German Mennonite background. She wrote A Stranger in Olondria in Yambio, south Sudan, where she worked as an English teacher. She has worked in Egypt and is pursuing a PhD in African languages and literature at the University of Madison, Wisconsin.
Publish date: April 24th 2013
Publisher: Small Beer Press
Pages no: 299
Edition language: English
Beautiful, slow-paced, sad. Linear storytelling makes it a more accessible starting point than The Winged Histories.
This book has some of the most gorgeous language I've read in years. It is lush, rich, and evocative. In places it reads like long form poetry (which should come as no huge shock since Samatar writes poetry as well). It reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Percy Shelley. Here's the thing though...
105. A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA, BY SOFIA SAMATAR Recommended to me by an old friend, who I hadn’t seen in a long time. Synopsis: Jevick’s father decides to hire an Olondrian tutor for him. Olondria is a faraway land, much different from Jevick’s birthplace, and seems like a fairy tale to him. When his ...
I’ve been meaning to read Samatar’s debut since it came out two years ago. It’s a really engrossing book, which probably deserves more space than I can give it here. It’s about family and myth and home, about history and colonialism. But most of all it’s about books, and a relationship with books. S...
The writing in this book is unbelievably beautiful. So much so that I kept going after the first 30%, where nothing happened at all. Okay, not entirely nothing, but not enough to fill more than a dozen pages of my usual fare. Most of this initial section is devoted to the narrator's love of boo...