Lagoon: Three strangers, each isolated by his or her own problems: Adaora, the marine biologist. Anthony the world famous rapper. Agu, the trouble soldier. Wandering the beach outside Lagos, Nigeria’s capital city, they’re more alone than they’ve ever been before.
But when a meteorite hits the ocean and a tidal wave overcomes them, these three people will find themselves bound together in ways they’ve never imagined. Together with Ayodele, a visitor from beyond the stars, they must race through Lagos and against time itself in order to save the city, the world… and themselves.
My thought exactly, after reading Lagoon, is thank God the story is done. This is the first book I’m reading by Nnedi Okorafor who I got to know about after she made the news for writing comics for Marvel. I found this book at a book store and immediately loved the cover aesthetics. Even though I wasn’t thrilled by the blurb, I was curious and wondering what on earth to expect with a Sci-fi story set in Lagos.
Throughout the ride, the best feelings I had where at certain points in the story which evoked nostalgia within me. The story particularly reminded me about the year when Bar Beach overflowed its banks and flooded Victoria Island. I can’t remember the exact year but Bar Beach was never the same after that. I was sad because my dad used to take my siblings and I there every other Sunday at least. So we lost a weekend play spot. The beach was reclaimed but no, for those who knew the before, the after wasn’t as great.
A similar occurrence happened in the story. I may be wrong but I think Nnedi may have gotten the idea from this real life mishap. The coincidence is too strong to be an original figment of her imagination. That is not to say it couldn’t. Anyway, it is fascinating to see someone create an otherworldly story out of a real life event. I was really blown away by the concept.
Now about the story itself, I had mixed feelings I couldn’t really sort out. Initially, it felt weird reading a Sci-fi story set in Lagos. It’s a good thing to extend such kind of fiction to Nigeria but there was the tendency to disbelieve everything or attribute it to witches and wizards just like some of the characters in the story were doing. As I read on, the weird feeling got misplaced somewhere and I finally settled into the strangeness.
But then scenes kept coming up as completely off or not adding up. The story was just all over the place, lacking true cohesion. Things were just happening here and there. I get that the author tried to tell the story from different perspectives and introduce linkages here and there. In my own opinion, it wasn’t the best of story plotting. For example, the scene with the Ijele masquerade, I didn’t get it and its correlation with the story. Then Adaora’s first kiss with Agu?? It was a bolt from the blues. When was that attraction formed or even foreshadowed?
A reader shouldn’t have to read something twice to get the gist of the matter. I feel like I should read this book again but I don’t see that happening. If a movie is ever made of Lagoon, I’d love to see it. It may probably explain a lot to me. It’s not easy to describe something abstract and Nnedi’s descriptions were good. But they didn’t evoke a vivid imagination in my head. I wasn’t drawn to the story. Rather, I was just curious to see how it would end. Sometimes curiosity can be misunderstood as suspense because both can drive you to finish a story. The big difference between both is the thrill that suspense evokes in a reader.
Who else has read Lagoon? What do you think? Who has read a sci-fi story set in Nigeria? Any recommendations? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section.