Book: The Phoenix by Chiga Unigwe

the phoenixBook review by bookshy (

„Originally published as De Feniks in Dutch, The Phoenix is Chika Unigwe’s first novel, and if I wasn’t already sure I was a fan of hers, reading this novel definitely cemented it.

The Phoenix tells the story of Oge, a Nigerian woman, married to a Belgian, living in Belgium. It’s told from Oge’s point of view so from start to finish we are with Oge – seeing what she sees, feeling what she feels, sharing her highs and lows, her past and her present.

Early on in the novel you get the feeling that Oge is out-of-place in her new home and this sense of constant loneliness. Even amongst the other Black people she meets in her day to day living in Belguim, she does not feel a connection, as they do not reciprocate her smiles or niceness – they go about their daily existence in Belgium trying to be invisible. As the story goes on, we begin to understand the root of Oge’s feeling of „foreignness“ and loneliness. In addition to that, Oge is also battling two griefs/losses – one which happened a year ago which she has failed to come to terms with, and the other, a recent addition, which she is struggling to accept. All these combine together to affect not only her, but her marriage. „


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