It’s been a year since Binti and her Meduse friend Okwu started attending OOmza Uni; a year since the terrible events on-board her ship from Earth; a year since Binti and Okwu have been declared heroes for stopping a war between planets; a year since Binti became something else, something more after her genetic modifications to become part Meduse in order to survive.
In that year, Binti has studied, found a new friend – and family – in Okwu, and has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. There are also feelings of inadequacy brought by all these changes, feelings that raise complicated questions of identity: Binti feels that she is unclean, that in breaking away from family and home, she broke herself. And the only way to fix it – as well as her beloved edan, is to go back home, to Earth, to her people to undertake the pilgrimage that every girl of her people takes.
But going back home is never that simple.
Home is the highly anticipated sequel to Nnedi Okorafor’s incredible, award-winning novella Binti. Just as its predecessor, it is a story that looks at the intersections of family, culture, and tradition – past, present, and future – and how all of these play a role in shaping one’s identity. Although Home takes place on Earth, it still very much looks at a wider, intergalactic picture because Binti brings Okwu home with her. However, the main focus of the novella stays firmly on Binti, her family, and her quest to answer the most important question of all: who is she now? This only gets heartbreakingly complicated when her family is not as welcoming as she expected, and in turn, the family’s past seems to hold secrets that affect her heritage and her own sense of tradition and beliefs. Those secrets relate to a side of her family she didn’t know of, to a side of herself she didn’t think existed. How to reconcile her own internalised prejudice, the prejudices of the world, with the ongoing changes to her body and mind?
There are no clear answers here – not only because there is more to the story coming but also because the questions raised are not clear-cut, easily-answered ones. It very much feels like Binti’s journey has only just begun. And I hope the next instalment comes our way sooner rather than later – the novella ends on a nail-biting cliff-hanger of intergalactic proportions.
In Booksmugglerish: 8 out of 10