The Library of the Dead
The Library of the Dead is another book I read for my African folklore project. This book is filled with African folklore. In fact, the folklore is central to the story. If you interested, you can read about that aspect here.
I picked this book up sometime ago based on the title and it’s sat on my bookshelf. Focusing on African authors and folklore in speculative fiction gave me the excuse to read it. I was previously unaware T. L. Huchu was originally from Zimbabwe.
The book walks in the liminal space between YA and adult books. The protagonist is 14 but seems much older.
This is another book I listened to in part via audio book. I loved the narrator. I am disappointed the same person did not return for the second book in the series.
The Library of the Dead is set in a dystopian Edinburgh Scotland. Ropa, the teenage protagonist, talks to the dead. She has dropped out of school in order to support her sister, her grandmother, and herself through ghosttalking. It is her job to help the deceased complete their unfinished business on earth where they can move on. One of her clients tasks her with finding out why her son, Ollie is missing. The investigation leads her to a secret library where she learns magic is real. At the library she meets and befriends Priya, a disabled girl in a wheelchair who becomes a willing companion in solving the mystery of what has happened to Ollie and other children.
The disability representation is good. Like really good. Despite Priya being in a wheelchair, she is perfectly capable. She is never viewed as a hinderance or looked down upon for being disabled. In fact, there is moment where she has to remind Ropa she’s in a wheelchair. Huchu did an amazing job writing her.
Huchu also writes under his full name, Tendai Huchu, for his non-YA books. After reading Library of the Dead I am interested in checking out his other work.