The Death of Vivek Oji

Akwaeke Emezi

fiction Contemporary LGBTQIA+
challenging emotional reflective medium-paced

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What does it mean for a family to lose
a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son's body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family's struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek's closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens--and Osita struggles to understand Vivek's escalating crisis--the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations--a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

What the community thinks

summary of 363 ratings (see reviews)

Content warnings

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Transphobia (15 reviewers), Incest (13 reviewers), Death (12 reviewers), Homophobia (9 reviewers), Grief (7 reviewers), Infidelity (4 reviewers), Physical abuse (4 reviewers), Sexual content (4 reviewers), Violence (4 reviewers), Hate crime (3 reviewers), Infertility (3 reviewers), Mental illness (3 reviewers), Blood (3 reviewers), Religious bigotry (3 reviewers), Biphobia (2 reviewers), Domestic abuse (2 reviewers), Rape (2 reviewers), Child death (1 reviewer), Deadnaming (1 reviewer), and Medical content (1 reviewer)


Homophobia (6 reviewers), Domestic abuse (3 reviewers), Infidelity (3 reviewers), Sexual content (3 reviewers), Transphobia (3 reviewers), Blood (3 reviewers), Religious bigotry (3 reviewers), Alcoholism (2 reviewers), Infertility (2 reviewers), Mental illness (2 reviewers), Biphobia (1 reviewer), Body shaming (1 reviewer), Bullying (1 reviewer), Eating disorder (1 reviewer), Emotional abuse (1 reviewer), Hate crime (1 reviewer), Incest (1 reviewer), Physical abuse (1 reviewer), Sexism (1 reviewer), Violence (1 reviewer), and Grief (1 reviewer)


Animal death (2 reviewers), Sexual assault (2 reviewers), Deadnaming (1 reviewer), Miscarriage (1 reviewer), Physical abuse (1 reviewer), Racism (1 reviewer), Rape (1 reviewer), Suicidal thoughts (1 reviewer), Toxic relationship (1 reviewer), and Xenophobia (1 reviewer)


emotional 95%
sad 77%
reflective 59%
challenging 50%
dark 41%
mysterious 32%
tense 16%
hopeful 12%
inspiring 10%
informative 4%
adventurous 2%
funny 0%


medium 60%
fast 23%
slow 15%

Strong character development?

Yes: 87% | It's complicated: 10% | No: 2%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 60% | It's complicated: 36% | No: 2%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 97% | No: 1% | It's complicated: 0%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 71% | It's complicated: 21% | No: 5% | N/A: 1%

Average rating


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