Love in Colour: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola #review

Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

Title: Love in Colour
Author: Bolu Babalola
Publisher: Headline

Synopsis:

A high-born Nigerian goddess, who has been beaten down and unappreciated by her gregarious lover, longs to be truly seen.

A young businesswoman attempts a great leap in her company, and an even greater one in her love life.

A powerful Ghanaian spokeswoman is forced to decide whether she should uphold her family’s politics or be true to her heart.

In her debut collection, internationally acclaimed writer Bolu Babalola retells the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology with incredible new detail and vivacity. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines Greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East, and stories from long-erased places.

With an eye towards decolonizing tropes inherent in our favorite tales of love, Babalola has created captivating stories that traverse across perspectives, continents, and genres.

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My Review:

Love in Colour was, for me, quite a mix between stories that were very captivating and beautifully written, and some which just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I guess that’s the great thing about a collection of short stories – if you’re not to keen some some, you’ll probably find another one you’ll enjoy.

There were lots of the stories which I really enjoyed – particularly Attem, Yaa, Nerfertiti and Pysche. These were, interestingly, all from the ‘old’ section comprising of old myths and stories from around the world which Bolu Babalola had rewritten to have a modern slant with a focus on female-empowerment. I had thought I might prefer the ‘new’ tales, of which there were far fewer, because I usually enjoy contemporary fiction more than classic, but in this case I felt like the new tales failed to really engage or interest me.

The stories I enjoyed all felt a little bit different – for example, in Attem I was really rooting for the two characters to be allowed to be together, and I liked the surprise at the end, whilst Nerfertiti had a dark but engaging twist and focused on female-female relationships instead of heterosexual, which made a refreshing change.

The other stories were by no means bad, I just didn’t find myself wanting to read on, and a lot of them started to feel quite samey – particularly Naleli, Thisbe, Tian, Orin… the stories weren’t necessarily the same but the general ‘happenings’ sort of blended into one another. Often it would be a girl who wasn’t very popular or known to be beautiful who fancied a man who they were close to/ friends with, and eventually it would become clear that they in fact did have feelings for the main character.

Perhaps if I’d read these stories on separate occasions, instead of all at once, they would have felt a bit more distinct, but the ones that really stuck in my mind – Attem, Yaa and Nerfertiti – were enjoyable to read. I think Bolu’s writing is beautiful and flows very well – the subject matter just didn’t draw me in as much as I’d have hoped.

Rating: 3.5/5

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