The Masters Review Blog

Jun 9

June Book Review: And Then He Sang a Lullaby by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu

In our first review of June, reviewer Joanna Acevedo turns to the debut release from Roxane Gay Books: And Then He Sang a Lullaby by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu! “This is a wonderful novel in the sense that it does not exist in the shadow of America,” Acevedo writes: “it is a truly African novel, taking place solely in Africa and with African concerns, and it’s exciting to see it brought to American readers. It’s truly a revolutionary book for its deep dive into radical young queer Nigerian culture.” Read the full review at the link below.

Set in the backdrop of a radically anti-gay Nigeria, And Then He Sang a Lullaby by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu—the inaugural title from Roxane Gay Books—follows the story of two young men in university in Enugu City, simply trying to survive. August, a first-year student-athlete with low exam scores, whose overbearing sisters have all but raised him after his mother died in childbirth, has internalized his God-fearing tendencies to the point that he has repressed his homosexuality, while Segun, after an unpleasant breakup tinged with homophobic, state-sanctioned violence, has resorted to casual sex on hookup apps and radical socialism as a way to deal with his grief. After a huge anti-gay bill is passed by the Nigerian government, their unlikely matchup leads to a tender, painful story of survival which asks what it means to love—as a queer person and even more, as a human being, in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

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