Review of Tobi Ogundiran, “The Many Lives of an Abiku”, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 309 (July 30, 2020). Read online. Reviewed by Richard Lohmeyer.
In this story of birth and rebirth, the narrator manifests physically as a young girl named Sola. However, she is actually an abiku, a spirit child untethered to the real world except through the assistance of a mystic named Baba Seyi. “You have come to your mother three times before and have died before your seventh year. You relish her pain and suffering,” Baba Seyi tells her. Though Sola denies this initially, much of the story involves Sola’s need to choose between her spirit family and her flesh and blood family. There is also a battle (both physical and in spirit form) with another spirit child named Rewa who wants to kill Sola and insinuate herself within Sola’s family (and who looks enough like Sola to be able to do it). The story ends differently than I expected, and a bit ambiguously, but it’s definitely worth reading.