Three strangers on a beach; a marine biologist, a famous rapper and a soldier. Each has their own troubles but their world is about to change. A sonic boom hits the surface of the lagoon in Lagos and a wave swallows them up.
The narrative follows a collection of Nigerians in the wake of a life-changing event. Told mostly in third person, it occasionally veers into first person accounts from otherwise unknown characters. We hear the thoughts of the poorest to the most privileged, painting a picture of the political landscape against which first contact occurs. Let’s face it, there’s no reason why aliens would always pick America to announce themselves to. It’s refreshing to read science fiction interwoven with different cultures.
My favourite parts must be the few chapters told from the perspectives of some of Lagos’ creatures; a tarantula on a busy highway, a bat who is unfortunate enough to fly into the path of an aeroplane and not-forgetting the spider of folklore, who sits under the earth spinning tales. There are a few bits told from within the lagoon, but less than I was expecting, overall it wasn’t watery at all.
Lagoon doesn’t portray a particularly positive view of modern Nigeria; there are the 419 scammers that we’re probably all aware of, Area Boys who prowl the streets looking for trouble and plenty of abuse towards women. As the news of the aliens spreads, the characters show both the bad and the good that can come from a situation, but overall there is a sense of opportunism. Everyone’s looking out for themselves. Given an amazing event, humanity does not provide a very good impression.
I struggled to decipher the Pidgin English that was spoken by some of the characters. There is a glossary at the back which might be worthwhile reading first (of course, I didn’t think to look). I did get the gist of what they were saying at least but it probably detracted a bit from my enjoyment.
The ending lacked a little impact; it just sort of tailed off. However, I liked the point that stories kept being spun, that this is the start of something, not the end.
Also reviewed @ For Winter Nights
Shelve next to: The Three by Sarah Lotz
Book Source: Gifted from Kate @ For Winter Nights
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