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A vibrant exploration of a woman’s search for belonging

Night Dancer

Chika Unigwe

‘Night Dancer’ is set in Nigeria and tells the story of Mma, a young girl to whom life has not exactly been kind. When her mother Ezi dies unexpectedly, Mma is confronted with a past she knew nothing about. She finds out her mother left her father after he got their servant girl pregnant. Ezi then returned to her home city of Enugu and started working as a prostitute – bringing shame on the family and also mortgaging Mma’s future. After her mother’s death, Mma wants to restore the bonds with her family. When she visits her father, he claims that Ezi is the only one to blame – not him. Who should Mma believe? Who is responsible for all that she has missed?

One of the most probing, thought-provoking writers of the recent renaissance in African fiction
The Guardian

‘Night Dancer’ is based on the contrast that exists between tradition and modern life in present-day Nigeria. In this book, the author shows the dilemma that many people in modern Africa face. Her portrayal is effective and is done with subtlety and a keen eye for the complexity of African society. 

‘Night Dancer’ is a moving novel about the relationship between mothers and daughters, about the bonds of family, about knowing when you should fulfil your duty, and when you must be brave enough not to. 

A novel full of warmth and characters that capture the imagination
De Standaard
Unigwe has the kind of lyrical, intimate voice, that makes writing look easy
The Herald