The novella “Binti: Home” by Nnedi Okorafor was published for the first time in 2017. It’s the second work in the Binti series and follows “Binti“.
A year after she started studying at Oomza University, Binti continues to suffer from the trauma suffered during her journey despite the therapy and the friendship established with Okwu, one of the Meduse. she still feels the connection with the traditions of the Himba people and decides to return to her home for a pilgrimage even though she knows that facing her family will not be easy.
The novella “Binti” dealt with various important themes but the protagonist’s story was in some ways only at the beginning. At the age of 16, she has a complex identity and found herself in a life-or-death situation that has profoundly changed her. “Binti: Home” is in part a coming-of-age story in which Binti seeks answers and makes surprising discoveries.
Binti’s return to Earth allows Nnedi Okorafor to expand her personal story and her family’s story in an environment that mixes ancient traditions and technologies of that future. The inter-ethnic problems and the discrimination connected to them were already mentioned in the first novella, in this sequel, they’re much more at the center of the plot. Okwu’s presence is used to offer more information about the Meduse and their war with the Khoush. The theme of sexism is also dealt with more explicitly in the part of the Himba traditions Binti couldn’t accept.
Binti meets the people who live in the desert and she’s the one with prejudices, in her case about that people. For Binti, that’s an embarrassing situation, as she’s usually the victim of prejudice, especially from the Khoush. Going beyond those prejudices is crucial for her to better understand her identity. Partly it’s about getting to know her origins better, partly it’s about getting a better understanding of the edan, what she had long considered just an amulet. This clarifies to Binti, and therefore to the readers, some points that remained obscure in her first encounter with the Medusae.
“Binti: Home” ends with a twist, an event that has developments in the third of the novellas that form a trilogy about Binti. For this reason, I recommend reading the entire Binti series as if it were a single novel.