[PODCAST] SELF EXPOSURE - The Tenacious Uzodinma Okehi

If you've only encountered Uzodinma Okehi through his recent Twitter persona, you might characterize him as a pest. He's a frequent poster, but he's known more for his replies and responses, which sometimes seem to take indie lit writers and presses to task for being precious, disingenuous, or faux humble. It's a tightrope to walk, especially because Uzo is part of that world, and guilty of many of the same faux pas. This sentiment, of being among but also being outside, is a major theme in Uzo's book House of Hunger, which he self published as part of a series that traces the character Blue Okoye (a stand in for Uzo himself). This book rocked my world. In less than 100 pages, it captures the alienation of being at college in Iowa City in the 90s. The bleakness of the place, the grayness, and also the alienation of being black and artistic in a school where popularity generally belongs to white jocks and their Coors Light looking girlfriends. Outside of the themes of alienation and belonging, the stylistic choices in this book are sharp and choppy, lending a racing, countdown feeling to the reader. 

An excerpt: 


Mist. Like steam, listing, through karst cliffs dense with trees. And green. So-called, finger mountains. On looming, secret islands, ringed with sand, reaching over dark water. Born from the ether. Much like the anxiety, little nightmares I have, from time to time, come and they go, blow over, and Im always left with the lightbox image of those steamy islands somewhere in China—sitting in Easy House looking at the framed, backlit poster on the wall, either that, or stretched on the carpet in my dorm room, thinking about it, smoking cigarettes, lying on my back . . .
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