Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti Omnibus by Nnedi Okorafor
Binti Omnibus by Nnedi Okorafor

The novella “Binti: The Night Masquerade” by Nnedi Okorafor was published for the first time in 2018. It’s the third work in the Binti series and follows “Binti: Home“.

The alarming news she received, brings Binti back to her village in hopes that her family is well. The clash between the Khoush and the Medusae risks leading to open warfare with the Himba village caught between two fires. Binti appeals to her village elders to try to prevent a tragedy from happening.

“Binti: The Night Masquerade” takes up Binti’s story where “Binti: Home” ended. After exploring the protagonist’s changes in her attempts to find her identity that seems to become increasingly complex and difficult to define, Nnedi Okorafor dedicates the third novella of the trilogy to inter-ethnic conflicts. In this series, the conflict is between the Earth’s Khoush people and the alien species of the Meduse but the allegory is quite transparent.

In a series I appreciated intellectually for its contents but generally didn’t spark my emotions, some moments of Binti’s attempt to stop the war between Khoush and Meduse stimulated me emotionally. Her remarks about conflict where the enemies are accusing each other of various alleged crimes justifying their revenge are dramatically true around the world. There’s always a justification for killing that can be good for a group involved in a conflict, even for the people who are not warmongers, even for the people who otherwise appear to be very good. The important thing is that the enemy is the one portrayed as a villain, aggressor, and above all different.

As a conclusion to the trilogy, “Binti: The Night Masquerade” is certainly not perfect, in my opinion, above all because Nnedi Okorafor basically cheats in the management of the deaths of some characters. However, her messages are really strong and expressed in ways that include enough real elements for the reader to absorb them in a profound way.

Nnedi Okorafor added the short story “Binti: Sacred Fire”, chronologically placed between the first two novellas. The omnibus shows a nontrivial point of view on diversity as a source of both richness and problems. The various works form a story that can be read like a novel that develops important themes, and for this reason, I recommend reading them.

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