Binti: Home is a deeper journey into Binti’s heritage, revealing the many secrets of her family’s past and the hidden parts of her identity. This second novel in the Binti Series is a search for her identity after losing a piece of herself to the Meduse. Okorafor is a master of cultural invention, expanding Binti’s homeland to include a new culture hidden behind the prejudices of her people. Her final journey reveals an awe-inspiring technology, ending in a race to build the scattered fragments of her identity into a whole. It’s a beautiful book of self-discovery that lives up to its predecessor.
The Binti series has become one of those phenomena that has swept the world, taking us to a beautiful future alongside our eponymous protagonist. To celebrate the release of the full trilogy in February, I’ll be reviewing all of the novellas and the new short story included in the collection. It’s a great time to pick them back up and enjoy the world again!
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
A Few of My Favorite Things
Binti: Home gives us a deep look at the Himba culture. After seeing the tense treatment from her family and from other community members, it’s clear that her identity crisis is somewhat warranted. Her culture begins to seem more and more closed off as the roots of her heritage are revealed to be stubbornly deep. She’s no longer accepted as she once was. The answer comes in the form of a new culture, one she didn’t know she was a part of. In learning of her Enyi Zinariya roots, she realizes the prejudices held by her people. There’s a single-mindedness to their way of life which becomes the great driver in her attempts to find out who she is.
Binti’s struggle to discover who she is runs deep throughout this second volume. By the end, she’s coming to terms with being a part of three different cultures, each unique and fascinating. First, the Himba heritage of her family. She struggles with maintaining her ties after leaving Earth and returns in order to regain that connection. Second, her Meduse ties. In taking on a part of the Meduse anatomy, she has lost an important tie to her home culture. Third, her newly discovered Enyi Zinariya heritage. She hasn’t had time to learn much about this ancient culture she’s a part of. In the end, as she rides back to disaster, she begins the fully informed process of discovering who she is.
Binti is struggling with PTSD due to her experiences from the first book. Okorafor touches on the topic in depth, showing Binti as she tries and fails to fully accept what happened to her friends and fellow students. She suffers from massive panic attacks and uses math to work her way through them. We see her therapy sessions and her attempts at using exposure therapy to overcome her associated fears. I greatly appreciate the attention to the reality of PTSD. So many novels skate over the effects of horrifying situations on characters. Okorafor discusses it masterfully.
If you want to get started now on Binti: Home and can’t wait for the complete trilogy:
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