‘Walk with Sleep’ by Irenosen Okojie

Irenosen Okojie’s 2016 collection Speak Gigantular will be rated a 21st century modern classic in years to come, I’m certain of it. The imagination, wit, energy and bravura in that book is unparalleled and I’ve loved reading and re-reading it over the last couple of years. The literary punch in stories like ‘Gunk’, the pathos in ‘Why is Pepe Canary Yellow?’ and the oddness of ‘Jody’ make her book an unequivocal joy. My favourite story in the book is ‘Walk with Sleep’, a strange tale of limbo in the London Underground. It is told with real elegance and poise. The central conceit is haunting – that those who commit suicide on the Underground meet each other as ghosts, trying to find their way back to the world, and many times I’m waiting for a train at a Tube station I think about it and imagine Okojie’s characters playing in the tunnels.

From Speak Gigantular, Jacaranda Books 2016

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