Zikora is a short story published by Amazon Original Stories and written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, best known for her books Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, We Should All Be Feminists and Americanah among others. Zikora is short but loaded with heavy themes guaranteed to stick with the reader long after the last page has been turned. It follows the titular character Zikora as she begins life as a parent. Don’t worry we will endeavour to avoid any spoilers especially considering how relatively new the book is.
The book opens in a maternity room. Zikora, a high-power DC lawyer is having a baby alone. Her partner abandoned her when he found out about her pregnancy. The life she thought was perfect, well-organized, well-planned is falling apart before her very eyes. The only person present is her mother with whom she has a strained relationship. As she goes through labour and eventually begins her motherhood journey, she has time to reflect on her mother, their relationship and her mother’s relationship with her father. She finally begins to understand her mother more, her motivations and the mix of events that led her down the path she finally found herself on, which made her who she is.
She also reflects on her relationship with her cousin, Mmiliaku who is more like a sister and with whom she shares everything. While their lives on the surface look wildly different and distant, with one living it large in Washington DC and the other struggling in Nigeria, she begins to draw important parallels. Especially as pertains to their relationships with men.
The book takes us through pain and suffering both emotional and physical. The physical pain of childbirth is described so well, you cannot help but feel the pain yourself. It wonderfully navigates how much we may not really know and understand people who are close to us. How there is always more for us to uncover, understand, appreciate and perhaps even identify with. This is true when it comes to parental relationships which are wonderfully explored. Her relationship with her cousin especially is incredibly moving and full of grace.
The ways Chimamanda explores both her relationship with her mother and her cousin will leave you contemplating your own relationships. The book will have you thinking about everything from the agony of childbirth to capitalism and the way women have to keep working to prove their worth to corporations. There’s also the role of touch, what womanhood means and many more. Zikora herself is a great character whose arc it is possible to clearly see in the few pages that make up the book. You can clearly her strengths, her flaws and the ways she changes her mind about things which makes her so endearing.
Definitely worth the read. Go out and get it. It’s incredibly short so you have no excuse. Enjoy.
As you figure out your next read, check out this review of the book The Engagement by Kariuki Kimuyu.
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