Harry Sylvester Bird

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Chinelo Okparanta: Harry Sylvester Bird (2022, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company)

320 pages

English language

Published Jan. 25, 2022 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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3 stars (1 review)

4 editions

Sharply observed satire

3 stars

I was impressed by one of Chinelo Okparanta's previous novels, Under The Udala Trees, so enthusiastically requested a review copy of her newest work, Harry Sylvester Bird, when I saw the book offered on NetGalley. The two novels are very different which isn't a bad thing per se, but unfortunately, whereas I strongly sympathised with and cared for Ijeoma in Under The Udala Trees, I found myself becoming increasingly irritated with Harry Sylvester Bird. An older boy who becomes a young man as his novel progresses, Harry is not a particularly endearing character and, other than his physical aging, he doesn't seem to actually grow as a person which I wanted to see happening.

The book starts off promisingly with the young idealistic Harry striving to make the world a better place and himself a better person by actively rejecting the example his parents set for him. Wayne and Chevrolet …