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Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon por…
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Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon (original 2023; edição 2023)

por Wole Talabi (Autor)

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794341,120 (3.58)4
Shigidi is a disgruntled and demotivated nightmare god in the Orisha spirit company, reluctantly answering prayers of his few remaining believers to maintain his existence long enough to find his next drink. When he meets Nneoma, a sort-of succubus with a long and secretive past, everything changes for him. Together, they attempt to break free of his obligations and the restrictions that have bound him to his godhood and navigate the parameters of their new relationship in the shadow of her past. But the elder gods that run the Orisha spirit company have other plans for Shigidi, and they are not all aligned--or good. From the boisterous streets of Lagos to the swanky rooftop bars of Singapore and the secret spaces of London, Shigidi and Nneoma will encounter old acquaintances, rival gods, strange creatures, and manipulative magicians as they are drawn into a web of revenge, spirit business, and a spectacular heist across two worlds that will change Shigidi's understanding of himself forever and determine the fate of the Orisha spirit company.… (mais)
Membro:mushgoblin
Título:Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon
Autores:Wole Talabi (Autor)
Informação:DAW (2023), 320 pages
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Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon por Wole Talabi (2023)

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The first novel by Nigerian author Wole Talabi is a rational fantasy with the orisha Shigidi as the protagonist, and his succubus partner Nneoma receiving at least as much attention. In pacing and tone, it reminded me a little of Charles Stross' Laundry books, although its presentation of the supernatural is of course somewhat different.

The orishas are organized in a quasi-commercial "spirit company," and the story suggests that the same is true for deities of other cultures. Shigidi's understanding of the cosmos relates to an Isese creation narrative. Nneoma meanwhile is preoccupied with an originary Fall.

There are some rough edges to the writing, which overall tends in a somewhat cinematic direction. It stumbles a bit with parliamentary jargon in the board meeting of the Orisha Spirit Company. The instances of explicit sex are written tastefully and effectively.

I was surprised on page 87 to discover that Aleister Crowley is a key and persistent supporting character. The characterization is reasonably well-handled and features Victor Neuburg also. Strangely, a couple of references to Samuel Liddell Mathers changed him to "Samuel Albus Dell" (90, 183) just as the Hermetic Order of the Golen Dawn is called "the Third Dawn."

On the strength of this book, I might well try other stories by Talabi.
2 vote paradoxosalpha | May 12, 2024 |
My expectation going into this novel was that I was going to be reading a kind of modern-day "sword and sorcery" type epic, and there is some of that as it's definitely a caper book and it's very hard-boiled; the main characters are far from nice and individual motivations tend to be "transactional" and expedient. That said, the characters grew on me and I thought that the flashback structure of the book worked, as it all eventually coalesces down to a really good climax of emotional and personal transcendence for the main characters. If Talabi intends to set more novels in this milieu I'll be happy to give them a try.

As for who I think might like this book, assuming you're coming to Talabi cold (I've had no exposure to his short fiction), if you've been reading Ben Aaronovitch ("Rivers of London") and Charlie Stross ('The Laundry"), this might scratch the same itch. ( )
2 vote Shrike58 | Apr 26, 2024 |
https://fromtheheartofeurope.eu/shigidi-and-the-brass-head-of-obalufon-by-wole-t...

There is probably a whole subgenre out there of books about stealing items from the British museum. The only other one I have read is a Lovejoy novel, The Very Last Gambado. Both Lovejoy and the protagonist here, Shigidi, arbitrate between their own homelands and cultures (East Anglia and Nigeria respectively) and the symbolic centre of imperial cultural theft, the British Museum, and obviously we cheer for the insurgents both times.

It’s a richly imagined, sexy contemporary magical world, with the metaphors about colonialism and cultural appropriation text rather than subtext; and the sense of place is very good in both Nigeria and London. Entertaining to see Aleister Crowley still alive and taking an interest in contemporary affairs. I did feel that the system of magic and godhood was rather over-bureaucratised, using frankly Western concepts of management which are good for the 21st century in Nigeria or England but would hardly have been around for the millennia! Still, enjoyable and short. ( )
  nwhyte | Apr 4, 2024 |
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Shigidi is a disgruntled and demotivated nightmare god in the Orisha spirit company, reluctantly answering prayers of his few remaining believers to maintain his existence long enough to find his next drink. When he meets Nneoma, a sort-of succubus with a long and secretive past, everything changes for him. Together, they attempt to break free of his obligations and the restrictions that have bound him to his godhood and navigate the parameters of their new relationship in the shadow of her past. But the elder gods that run the Orisha spirit company have other plans for Shigidi, and they are not all aligned--or good. From the boisterous streets of Lagos to the swanky rooftop bars of Singapore and the secret spaces of London, Shigidi and Nneoma will encounter old acquaintances, rival gods, strange creatures, and manipulative magicians as they are drawn into a web of revenge, spirit business, and a spectacular heist across two worlds that will change Shigidi's understanding of himself forever and determine the fate of the Orisha spirit company.

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