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Overlook Press

Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu (Hardcover)

Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu (Hardcover)

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Fiction - Magical Realism - Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology


The Girl with the Louding Voice meets The Water Dancer in Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụs magical, award-winning literary debut, Dazzling, offering a new take on West African mythology.
Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s father died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a man who promises to change their fortunes, but his feet are hovering just a few inches above the ground. He’s a spirit, and he promises to bring Treasure’s beloved father back to life if she’ll do one terrible thing for him first.
Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back. It’s an itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, an honor never before bestowed upon a girl, to defend the land and protect its people by becoming a Leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honor this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less—she has enough to worry about as she tries to fit in at a new boarding school.
But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their missing fathers, Ozoemena’s fellow students start to vanish. Treasure’s obligations to the spirit escalate, and Ozoemena’s duty of protection as a Leopard grows. Soon the girls’ destinies and choices alike set them on a dangerous collision course. Ultimately, they must ask themselves: in a world that always says no to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?


Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, and raised in Awka, Nigeria. A product of not one but two Nigerian boarding schools, she went on to attend Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Her work has been shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Award (2015), a Nommo Award (2020), and the Caine Prize for African Literature (2017, 2020), and Dazzling won the inaugural Curtis Brown First Novel Prize for a work in progress. She lives in Newhaven, East Sussex, England.

“An entrancing tale of two Nigerian girls whose fates are intertwined in Igbo myth and magic . . . with exhilarating depictions of the spirits . . . Emelumadu delivers the goods with her satisfying coming-of-age story.”-Publishers Weekly
“Evocative and a little mysterious, this literary fantasy is immersive and full of Nigerian mythology. Recommend this lustrous coming-of-age story to those who like to read across genres.” -Library Journal
“In a story imbued with magic, the lives of two girls in 1990s Nigeria run on a collision course . . . A densely detailed tale of tradition and girl power.” -Kirkus
"Dazzling lives up to its name. I was entranced by the story of Treasure and Ozoemena – two young women who find themselves tested by forces both human and uncanny. Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ has crafted a coming-of-age tale like no other." -Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree
"A vibrant, immersive read that takes the reader on a dizzying journey through Nigerian mythology. Emelụmadụ does what I love best in this novel: she lays bare human weaknesses and celebrates female strength; she builds a world bursting with magic, bright and visceral; she has created two immensely memorable protagonists and woven a story that will linger in my mind for a long time."
-Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne
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