Peace Adzo Medie, a Liberian-born Ghanaian academic and writer, returns with her second novel, “Nightbloom,” following the success of her critically acclaimed fictional debut, “His Only Wife”. Released in June, the book explores the complexities of familial relationships, privilege, education, and racism. It delves into themes of secrets, revenge, and reconciliation, which are expertly woven into the narrative.
Akorfa and Selasi are cousins and best friends born on the same day in Ghana. Raised in the same neighbourhood and inseparable as children, they drift apart following the death of Selasi’s mother. Akorfa moves to Accra with her parents, while Selasi, orphaned by loss and abandonment, remains in Ho and moves in with her grandmother. The two cousins eventually find themselves attending the same secondary school, but their differences only create more distance between them.
Akorfa, with the aspiration of becoming a doctor, heads to the United States, where she encounters subtle acts of discrimination. Selasi works hard to establish a catering business and grapples with the political corruption prevalent in Ghana. Years later, their paths reconnect after a tragic incident.
The novel begins by narrating Akorfa’s point of view, followed by Selasi’s, allowing readers to delve into the experiences and memories that shaped their lives. The repetition of the story from different perspectives may feel unnecessary to some, but the contrasting viewpoints challenge the readers to question their biases and offer a deeper understanding of the character’s motivations and actions. It all climaxes with the revelation of a shared experience that unites the cousins, highlighting the strength of female bonds in the face of adversity.
Medie’s fiction is heavily influenced by her academic research on gender-based violence and African political conflict. ‘Nightbloom” sheds light on topics often hushed and overlooked in African communities. Overall, it is a compelling and thought-provoking novel that deserves a place on readers’ lists.