Lost Ark Dreaming

Lost Ark Dreaming is an immersive speculative novella by Nigerian-born author Suyi Davies Okungbowa (Son of the Storm). Its intriguing characters navigate a brutal class system, organized into levels of a partially submerged megatower in Lagos. The novella is detailed and complex enough to be worth reading just for the world itself.

But Lost Ark Dreaming has much more to recommend it beyond fantastic world-building. Of its three main characters, Yekini particularly shines as a lovable grouch who just wants to care for her grandmother and keep her nose clean at work. But she gets into exactly the kind of trouble she's been trying so hard to avoid when she is assigned to fix a mysterious leak in the submerged levels of the tower.

Okungbowa blends a post-climate collapse, drowned-world setting with fantastical tropes. He intersperses epistolary elements (a combination of documentation, poetry, and folklore) throughout and ultimately engages with a deep and powerful thread of real history. His writing is thoughtful and peppered with gorgeous lines, such as "the weight of grief is not a weight for bodies." Water is a poignant presence and metaphor; that the poorest people in this society are literally submerged below the waterline is an especially resonant example.

For fans of genre benders, dystopia, and stories of great humanity, Lost Ark Dreaming is a feast of meaning. The novella may be short, but Okungbowa achieves a feat of compression. Readers will be drawn into a fast-paced story set in an intensely imagined world of science, spirits, and poetry. --Carol Caley, writer

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