“Nwoka’s debut feels like a dream, or a fable, or something in between . . . Recommended for fans of Nnedi Okorafor’s Remote Control or Nghi Vo’s The Empress of Salt and Fortune.” —Ashley Rayner, Booklist
"[God of Mercy] owes a debt to Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, revising that novel's message for the recent past . . . A well-turned dramatization of spiritual and social culture clashes." —Kirkus Reviews
Homegoing meets Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Okezie Nwọka’s debut novel is a powerful reimagining of a history erased.
God of Mercy is set in Ichulu, an Igbo village where the people’s worship of their gods is absolute. Their adherence to tradition has allowed them to evade the influences of colonialism and globalization. But the village is reckoning with changes, including a war between gods signaled by Ijeoma, a girl who can fly.
As tensions grow between Ichulu and its neighboring colonized villages, Ijeoma is forced into exile. Reckoning with her powers and exposed to the world beyond Ichulu, she is imprisoned by a Christian church under the accusation of being a witch. Suffering through isolation, she comes to understand the truth of merciful love.
Reimagining the nature of tradition and cultural heritage and establishing a folklore of the uncolonized, God of Mercy is a novel about wrestling with gods, confronting demons, and understanding one's true purpose.
About the Author
Okezie Nwọka (he/they) was born and raised in Washington, D.C. They are a graduate of Brown University, and attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop as a Dean Graduate Research Fellow. They teach and live in their hometown.
“Nwoka’s debut feels like a dream, or a fable, or something in between . . . The vestiges of colonialism run deep throughout this novel, as well as themes of forgiveness and compassionate love . . Recommended for fans of Nnedi Okorafor’s Remote Control or Nghi Vo’s The Empress of Salt and Fortune.” —Ashley Rayner, Booklist
“In Okezie Nwọka’s dazzling and disquieting novel God of Mercy, battles between gods reignite a war between religions . . . Rife with magical realism and full of promise . . . God of Mercy undertakes a scrupulous review of the destructive power of colonialism through an imprisoned, gifted girl.” —George Hajjar, Starred Review, Foreword Reviews
"Nwoka trusts readers to follow the story without much expository cultural background, and the result feels authentic and organic. Book clubs looking for stories to inspire deep discussion need look no further." — Shelf Awareness
"[God of Mercy] owes a debt to Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, revising that novel's message for the recent past . . . A pair of distinctive qualities [make] Nwọka worth continued attention. First is their command of different rhetorical modes . . . Second is an earned note of optimism . . . A well-turned dramatization of spiritual and social culture clashes." —Kirkus Reviews "Nwọka’s dense, mythologically charged debut . . . immerses the reader in an often-bewildering world . . . [a] stirring coming-of-age story." —Publishers Weekly
"Tradition and change clash to devastating effect in Okezie Nwoka's compelling and heartrending debut, God of Mercy . . . Nwoka writes with a sure rhythm all their own, slipping easily between structured passages and stream of consciousness inner monologues." —Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads via Shelf Awareness
"God of Mercy is a profound exploration of religion, faith, and compassion from a gifted storyteller. Okezie Nwọka creates a richly imagined postcolonial landscape that is at once otherworldly, tragically human, and completely unforgettable." —Maisy Card, author of These Ghosts are Family
"God of Mercy isn't just a heart-stopping debut—it's a complete decolonization of the novel, a resounding rejection of the white gaze, a chronicle of a history that has for too long gone untold. This book is at the forefront of a new generation of postcolonial novels, and Nwoka's talent is unmatched." —R.A. Frumkin, author of The Confidence
“This beautiful book has magic in it, and grace, and power.” —Kate Christensen, author ofThe Great Man