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.
“This work remains both a feminine artifact and a testimony of a uniquely female experience. La Bastarda makes a significant contribution to queer literary culture. A powerful exploration of culture and tradition and is a testament to the transformational power of freely expressing and living as one’s true self no matter who or where you may be.”
– Parker Brookie, Asymptot
“At its heart La Bastarda is a coming-of-age story, exploring the tensions between one’s natural inclinations, cultural influences, and the choices that shape one’s journey. Obono does an excellent job of centering the reader into Okomo’s world… La Bastarda is ultimately an uplifting book. Okomo and her loved ones actively create the community they need. Obono manages the dual task of educating the reader about her Equatorial Guinea and shaking up everything you might have assumed about life for the people who live there.”
– Parrish Turner, The Culture Trip
“An invaluable contribution to lesbian and gay literary culture.”
– Cheryl Clarke, author of Living as a Lesbian
“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
“The story will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.”
— BUST Magazine
“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
“Unlike any book you have ever read…Okomo’s story and the raw honesty of her voice will stay with you long after you turn the last page of La Bastarda. This novel is a triumphant read for lesbians everywhere.” – Claire Heuchan, After Ellen
“The narrative’s most memorable and often funny moments have a ring of universality to them too.”
-Ann Morgan, author of Reading the World
“La Bastarda truly is a work of courage.”
– Tiah Beautenment, Sunday Times
“A revolutionary piece of literature.” – Efemia Chela, The Johannesburg Review of Books
“Trifonia Melibea Obono tells a deeply troubling tale, but her heroine’s resilience offers glimpses of hope. Obono’s writing itself is an act of inspiration and should be celebrated as such. Her narrator tells the story in a fresh, mesmerising voice. Its haunting quality adds to the irresistibility of this slim book and its considerable impact.” – Karina M. Szczurek, Africa In Words