‘Grace Jones’ by Irenosen Okojie

And he’d never asked what a girl from Martinique with a degree in forensics was doing moonlighting as a Grace Jones impersonator, the translated versions of themselves staring at each other silently from the opposite sides of a revolving door.

What happens when the people who look at you see someone else? The lookalike is a fascinating thing to explore in a short form. If the reference point is well-known to the reader (this is Grace Jones for goodness’ sake) you can rely on ready recognition, and scoot along with your own original character; their foundations already laid in reference to their doppelganger. We know that they will move around your virtual world and interact with others within that particular filter. Expectations can be built on…or subverted.

Nudibranch is a stunning collection in so many ways. For me it will always be haunted by this image of Sidra/Grace as ‘translations’ of each other behind this spinning door, watching the violence of past and present flash over and over between them.

In Nudibranch, Dialogue Books, 2019

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