Topical and timely, Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri's new collection of short stories blurs parallel realities and walks the line between darkness and magic.
"No matter how different each story is in context or story line, Prayer for the Living is not simply a collection of different tales, it is a deliberate assemblage of universal truths that explores what it means to seek and to live."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
"Ben Okri has a fantastic imagination. Reading the collection is similar to turning a glass snow globe and watching several dozen flakes each descending differently. He's not creating magical realism as much as redefining it...Okri's passion for the written word had my heart soaring."
--Woven Tale Press
"A career-spanning story collection from the Booker Prize-winning Nigerian writer that navigates the blurry line between dream and reality...'Alternative Realities Are True' is a dimension-warping detective story worthy of Philip K. Dick, and 'Don Ki-Otah and the Ambiguity of Reading' is a Don Quixote satire whose metafictional gamesmanship evokes Borges and Achebe...Okri skillfully embeds abstract ideas in concrete, engaging storytelling...Mind-bending and provocative."
--Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review
"Booker Prize-winning poet and novelist Okri creates a dreamlike atmosphere in one store, whipsaws the reader into a horrifying triptych about Boko Haram in the next, and then calms with unexpectedly gentle humor. There is something to entice or challenge every reader in this eclectic repertoire."
--Library Journal, STARRED Review
"Writing across countries, citizens, centuries, Okri effortlessly showcases his literary fluency. Even beyond specific details of time and place, global audiences will discover resonating enlightenment and entertainment between these taut pages."
--Shelf Awareness for Readers
"Booker-winner Okri delivers a sprawling collection that spans continents, centuries, and the border between the real and the supernatural...This is as an essential reminder of the timeless and vital nature of storytelling."
One of BuzzFeed's Most Anticipated Books of 2021
"Okri is always good company and these twenty-odd tales showcase his lucid prose and freewheeling imagination. The settings range from the Andes to Nigeria, and the common thread is that what you see is only part of the story...A literary magic-carpet ride of shimmering beauty."
--Daily Mail (UK)
A Library Journal top story collection for Fall 2020
"Booker Prize winner Ben Okri's short stories in Prayer for the Living are timeous, shocking, and perceptive."
--Sunday Times (South Africa)
"Okri is a master of the genre: these fables are concise and otherworldly. Resplendent and lingering, they capture an ethereal plane between wakefulness and sleep with a skewed, dreamlike brutality and beauty...Okri's magnificent twilight zone provides a surreal and unique insight."
--The Lady (UK)
Playful, frightening, shocking--these stories from a writer at the height of his power will make you think, or make you laugh. Sometimes they'll make you want to look away, but they will always hold your gaze.
These are stories set in London, in Byzantium, in the ghetto, in the Andes, and in a printer's shop in Lagos. Characters include a murderer, a writer, a detective, a woman in a dream, a man in a mirror, a little girl, a prison door, and the author himself.
Each one of these twenty-four stories will make you wonder if what you see in the world can really be all there is . . .