Sunny Moraine’s “The Thick Night” is a complicated attempt at exploring cultural clashes between the offering of aid and the folks who receive it in rural Africa, while also dealing with the strength and resilience of the protagonist, Mkali, as she survives the murder of her parents to raise her younger siblings, doing what she must because there’s no other choice. Her unexpected romance with the android that she has been given by the American aid workers is tender, but also immensely ethically complicated. Moraine never lets the reader forget that there are elements of slavery or the impossibility of knowing what is “real” for Madini, the android. It’s an ambitious piece dealing with difficult topics in what seems, to my eyes, a respectful way.
Check out the full review. Also check out the whole book. Seriously, it’s awesome. The lineup includes Lisa Nohealani Morton, Nalo Hopkinson, Amal El-Mohtar, An Owomoyela, and Laird Barron, among others.