Thursday, 19 September 2019

The Beautiful Side of the Moon by Leye Adenle

Reviewer: Catriona Troth

What We Thought:

For those of you familiar with Adenle’s Amaka series of crime novels set in Lagos, this is a very different book. This is a fantasy – written in part so Adenle’s nieces and nephews might read something he wrote. And it's a fantasy grounded in Nigerian Edo tradition.

Osaretin is an IT guy, working in a typically boring job in downtown Lagos. He is vaguely aware that is father was a magician – the sort who can make money appear in a handkerchief and eggs disappear in the palm of his hand. But then one day he receives a letter written on light purple paper, smelling of lavender, purporting to be from a Most Magnificent Magician of the second to highest level and announcing that he will shortly pay Osaretin a visit to instruct him in the magic his father was famous for.

Of course, to begin with he assumes it is a prank. But then he receives two visits – the first from a beautiful woman called Adesua, the second from a man in a purple fedora who calls himself Brother Moses.

From there begins a journey that will involve a sphere that can turn back time, flying magicians, body swaps, a magnetic, healing garden – and a battle between good and evil. Is Osaretin really his father’s heir – the champion they have all been waiting for? Or have they picked the wrong man?

The Beautiful Side of the Moon is a less tightly plotted that Adenle’s crime novels. It unfolds in a dreamlike way, reminiscent of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. Reading it, you experience something of the same sense of dislocation as Osaretin himself. It’s best to just hang on to Osaretin’s coattails and enjoy the ride.

You’ll Enjoy This If You Loved: The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Avoid If You Dislike: Books with a winding, dreamlike plotline.

Perfect Accompaniment: Fireworks and a glass of wine

Genre: Fantasy

Buy a copy here

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