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You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty: A Novel

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty: A Novel

by Akwaeke Emezi

Narrated by Bahni Turpin

Unabridged — 9 hours, 57 minutes

Akwaeke Emezi
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty: A Novel

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty: A Novel

by Akwaeke Emezi

Narrated by Bahni Turpin

Unabridged — 9 hours, 57 minutes

Akwaeke Emezi

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A Good Morning America Buzz Pick, and a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by The Washington Post, Oprah Daily, Vulture, Harper's Bazaar, Thrillist, Essence, Good Housekeeping, Glamour, Marie Claire, Parade, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Refinery29, Business Insider, The Guardian, Financial Times, PopSugar, Book Riot, LitHub, Bookish, LGBTQ Reads, and more!

“A deeply heartfelt romance novel.” -Marie Claire

An unabashed ode to living with, and despite, pain and mortality.” -The New York Times Book Review

A New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and “one of our greatest living writers” (Shondaland) reimagines the love story in this fresh and seductive novel about a young woman seeking joy while healing from loss.

Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.

It's been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she's almost a new person now-an artist with her own studio and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it's time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn't ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.

She's even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the overwhelming desire Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits-his father.

This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there's the biggest question of all-how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love? Akwaeke Emezi's vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.

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Editorial Reviews

Good Housekeeping

"A sharply original novel about love, friendship and the journey grief takes...For anyone who's been feeling a little lost, let this book give you some inspiration."

Marie Claire

"A deeply heartfelt romance novel...a love letter to the brave choices we make in the name of love, the costs we pay for it, and the glory of the reward at the end."


"You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty is one incredible romance you won’t want to miss!"


"Emezi once again absolutely slays a new-for-them genre, with tenderhearted characters and an immaculate balance of realistic dialogue and lyrical prose."

Booklist (starred review)

"Emezi has created a dazzling celebration of the messiness of living and feeling with their signature gift for articulating characters' inner voices in raw and expressive detail. Couple that with a thrilling story of forbidden love, and Emezi has created a seductive and powerful novel that will make readers feel renewed."

New York Times Book Review R.O. KWON

[A]n unabashed ode to living with, and despite, pain and mortality...and it could appeal especially to people who, living through an isolating pandemic that has accelerated loss, hunger for more joie de vivre.


"A riveting and emotional exploration of grief and taking a second chance on love."


"Fans of Emezi’s previous work will find comfort in the writer’s striking prose and well-layered characters but will also revel in the author’s bold first attempts at romance. At once a love story and a tale of deep grief, the novel beautifully displays the bravery of choosing love even in times of total despair."


"Emezi can write a love story like no other, and this one—which revolves around Feyi, a young woman healing from heartbreak who’s quickly drawn into more than one seductive and enthralling new romantic encounter—will have you gripped from page one."

Real Simple

[A] steamy and sexy read (as in, shut the book if your kids walk into the room) that also has tremendous heart.


"One of our greatest living writers."

Business Insider

"This contemporary romance [is] filled with Akwaeke Emezi's powerful and beautiful writing."

Bolu Babalola

"Emezi is a dream of a writer. My heart soared and shook and panted. A rich, complex, beautiful love story, exquisitely told. Emezi builds worlds and characters that you just want to marinate in."

The Harvard Crimson

"[A]n elegant take on the modern love story....a stunning portrait of one woman’s search for beauty and life after trauma, and is an enjoyable read for anyone looking to pick up a book this spring."

New York Times Book Review

"An unabashed ode to living with, and despite, pain and mortality."

Library Journal


After the tragic death of her husband, aspiring artist Feyi Adekola has been widowed for five years when she decides it's time to take her life back. With some prodding from her best friend Joy, Feyi slowly eases back into the dating scene with handsome Nasir. Nasir whisks Feyi away to a tropical island where she's a guest at his family's home. With the prospect of an art exhibition, exploring a beautiful island, and staying at the home of a celebrity chef, Feyi's life seems perfect. However, even though she is dating Nasir, Feyi cannot help the feelings she develops for someone else on the island. Will Feyi succumb to her feelings and the forbidden romance, or will she stay with Nasir? VERDICT Emezi's (The Death of Vivek Oji) latest work is sexy, complex, and moving. The author illustrates the complexities of grief, new love, and a young woman discovering who she is and who she wants to be, and readers will enjoy a new take on a love triangle romance.—Anna Kallemeyn

Kirkus Reviews

A scorching tale of love after loss from the author of The Death of Vivek Oji (2020).

In the opening scene of this novel, Feyi Adekola is in a bathroom at a house party having sex with a man she’s just met. This is the first time she’s had sex in five years—since her husband died in a car accident—and Milan is attractive, eager, and convenient. Soon, she embarks on a slightly more demanding relationship. Nasir wants more than her body. When she shows him her artwork, he gets her a place in a group show and an invitation to his father’s luxurious home on a tropical island. She’s shocked to discover that Nasir’s father is celebrity chef Alim Blake. The attraction she feels for the older man is instantaneous—and different. “When she’d met both Milan and Nasir, she’d been drawn to them because the want had started in their eyes. It had beckoned her over like bait, calling her until she built a mirror, reflecting it back to them. This was foreign….” She feels a special connection with Alim when she learns that he’s known tragedy, too. What transpires from this point is…complicated. The slow burn Emezi generates as Feyi and Alim fight their shared desire is well crafted, but the ease with which Alim is willing to destroy his relationship with his son—and his daughter—for Feyi is chilling. Feyi insists that no one who hasn’t lost a partner can understand her, but the way she and Alim talk about themselves as a whole world with two people in it feels more like folie à deux than real love. Feyi’s career as an artist also seems detached from reality. She achieves a level of success that means she’s either singularly gifted or uniquely lucky. And it’s too bad that the most engaging character here—her best friend, Joy—gets relegated to the role of one-woman chorus, talking sense that Feyi absolutely does not want to hear.

A narrative built from cliché and pure fantasy.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176380491
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 05/24/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews