Nile Baby

Published by Ayebia, 2008

Nile Baby tells the story of two quirky young friends who discover a 90-year-old fetus in the laboratory storeroom of their school. Alice and Arnie set out on two very different journeys to return the specimen to its rightful home, leading them to discover not only their absent fathers, but also other buried and surprising roots. Reunited at the end of their adventures, they find that the fetus-creature will finally insist on its own manner of leaving them. This imaginative and daring novel explores the boundaries between the living and the dead and between the other and ourselves.


[A] strange and often unsettling odyssey across England … the novel asks us to consider the complex nature of race and belonging in contemporary Britain.

—Patrick Flanery, Times Literary Supplement


Boehmer’s eye for domestic detail and ear for the nuances of speech whisk the reader in and out of different ways of being . . . Arnie gradually realizes that life is shaped in unforeseen ways by history.

—Angela Smith, The Independent


Elleke Boehmer’s fourth novel is a remarkable change of gear: after the complex weaving of South African historical narratives in Bloodlines she has given us a focused, mesmerizing, and an occasionally stomach-turning story of two twelve-year-olds. … [The novel] grasps the enigmatic depths of human, and  continental, relations.

—Derek Attridge


[A] moving portrayal of friendship …

—Mariss Stevens, NELM News