Trifonia Melibea Obono
A teenage orphan’s quest of self-discovery.
Translated by Lawrence Schimel
Afterword by Abosede George
The first novel by an Equatorial Guinean woman to be translated into English, La Bastarda is the story of the orphaned teen Okomo, who lives under the watchful eye of her grandmother and dreams of finding her father. Forbidden from seeking him out, she enlists the help of other village outcasts: her gay uncle and a gang of “mysterious” girls reveling in their so-called indecency. Drawn into their illicit trysts, Okomo finds herself falling in love with their leader and rebelling against the rigid norms of Fang culture.
"Obono's voice is assured and vital, and her tale of queer rebellion in Fang society is an exceptional take on the coming-of-age novel." —Publishers Weekly
"A powerful exploration of culture and tradition.” —Asymptote
“The story will stay with you long after you've closed the book.” —BUST Magazine
"An invaluable contribution to lesbian and gay literary culture.” —Cheryl Clarke, author of Living as a Lesbian
"A breakthrough novel that tells the world, from an Equatorial Guinean perspective, that there is so much necessary life outside of, beyond, before, and after patriarchy. For those of us who have been told that we do not exist. That we cannot exist. That we should not exist. This groundbreaking story full of love and nurturing is a spell for remembering that we do exist, we have existed, and that we must support each other to exist and thrive as who we are." —Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of M Archive: After the End of the World
“Though I live a world away from Equatorial Guinea, I saw so much of myself in Okomo: a tomboy itching to be free and to escape society’s rigged game. I cheered her on with every page, and wished—for myself and all girls—for the bravery to create our own world.” —Maggie Thrash, author of Honor Girl
Interested in reading this book with a group? Download group discussion questions for La Bastarda here!