A short novel I recently read and loved is Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor. She also wrote Binti, which I know many people love, but I haven’t gotten to yet, and many other books. Right after I read Remote Control, we got a copy of Sankofa, which is the name of the main character (and by a completely different author, Chibundu Onuzo). It’s funny to me how often a new-to-me word or concept suddenly seems to be everywhere once I’m aware of it. Sankofa means “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind” according to The Power of Sankofa: Know History. That’s a definition to think about, which clearly Okorafor did because it permeates this book.
In Remote Control, a young girl named Fatima suffers horribly, forgets her name, renames herself Sankofa, and becomes a figure of Death. She can destroy whole cities, but also use her death power to ease suffering. This book is about her journey chasing a stolen, and then lost, object, while also chasing down her lost identity and forging a new one. It’s a short book, but it stuck with me and left me with a lot to think about.