Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review: La Bastarda: A Novel

La Bastarda: A Novel La Bastarda: A Novel by Trifonia Melibea Obono
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"The first novel by an Equatorial Guinean woman to be translated into English, La Bastarda is the story of the orphaned teen Okomo, who lives under the watchful eye of her grandmother and dreams of finding her father. Forbidden from seeking him out, she enlists the help of other village outcasts: her gay uncle and a gang of “mysterious” girls reveling in their so-called indecency. Drawn into their illicit trysts, Okomo finds herself falling in love with their leader and rebelling against the rigid norms of Fang culture."

This is a quick read but immediately immerses you into the Fang cultural expectations through Okomo's eyes, because she has so many limitations beyond her control. I had to do some reading about Equatorial Guinea, and I think my first surprise was that the novel was translated from the Spanish! The fighting between wives was also reminiscent of The First Wife by Paulina Chiziane.

La Bastarda was on the Over the Rainbow list from ALA last year, but since I was a non-fiction judge I didn't get to it until now. So I have a copy from the publisher, somewhere, but I ended up reading it in Hoopla (mea culpa.)

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