Janklow & Nesbit UK

Blessings

published by Penguin (2024)

'It was difficult for Obiefuna to imagine what his life, what his family’s lives, had been prior to Aboy’s arrival. It seemed as though with Aboy, Obiefuna’s life had finally begun, a life he had been waiting to live.’

When Obiefuna’s father witnesses an intimate moment between his teenage son and the family’s apprentice, newly arrived from the nearby village, he banishes Obiefuna to a strict Christian boarding school. Surrounded by unknown faces that soon become friends, lovers, and enemies, Obiefuna finds and hides who he truly is, while his mother Uzoamaka grapples to hold onto her favourite son, her truest friend. Leaving school as a young man, Nigeria criminalizes same-sex relationships and Obiefuna’s life, or the life he wants to live, becomes even harder to envision – out of a reach in a way that is more dangerous and tangible than before.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Obiefuna and Uzoamaka, as they reach towards a future that will hold them both, BLESSINGS is an elegant and exquisitely moving story of love and loneliness. Asking how we can live freely when politics reaches into our hearts and lives, as well as deep into our consciousness, it is a stunning, searing debut.