With a keen focus on the strains of both voluntary and forced relocations, this novel blends the divergent experiences of various nationals into a coherent voice of love. Obsessions of Paradise chronicles the oft dehumanizing odyssey of migrants in search of hope, at the same time as it is a tender story of insecure but compelling love. Ama, a Ghanaian doctor based in the United States, is entangled in an improbable if compelling relationship with the destitute Shem. As their relationship dangles on the tightrope of social stigma, another one that seems surefooted is developing between Maud, a London doctor whose family fled Zimbabwe after persecution over land disputes, and George, a local businessman with international connections who flirts with racial politics. The men embark on fate altering journeys to Libya, one in hope of a better life, the other to promote business interests. In Libya, the doctors will confront each other and their men in ways none of them would have imagined. Faced with a redemptive option in the face of potential calamity, their ultimate choices illustrate what Kwakye labels the ethnicity of our humanity and posits that love can, and must, speak to all.
“The tales of these couples—Ama and Shem, Maud and George—seem starkly different, but their futures are all bound up together in this novel that explores the interconnected modern world. Kwakye’s (Songs of a Jealous Wind, 2018, etc.) prose finds the tension in the strangeness of place… a bubbling mysteriousness rooted in desire and longing will propel readers ever deeper into this idiosyncratic story.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“Kwakye’s adroitness and sophisticated language evoke the colorful descriptions and allusions of reputable authors such as Hughes, Dumas, Shakespeare, Soyinka, Laing,
Achebe, and p’Bitek.”
– World Literature Today
“Kwakye makes ingenious use of language in his narrative in an attempt to adapt
English to the worldview and imagination of his native tongue.”
– Pambazuka News
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