"Samatar's sensual descriptions create a rich, strange landscape, allowing a lavish adventure to unfold that is haunting and unforgettable."
—Library Journal *starred review*
"Thoroughly engaging and thoroughly original. A story of ghosts and books, treachery and mystery, ingeniously conceived and beautifully written. One of the best fantasy novels I've read in recent years."—Jeffrey Ford
"Mesmerizing—a sustained and dreamy enchantment. A Stranger in Olondria reminds both Samatar's characters and her readers of the way stories make us long for faraway, even imaginary, places and how they also bring us home again."—Karen Joy Fowler
"Gorgeous writing, beautiful and sensual and so precise—a Proustian ghost story."—Paul Witcover
"Imagine an inlaid cabinet, its drawers within drawers filled with spices, roses, amulets, bright cities, bones, and shadows. Sofia Samatar is a merchant of wonders, and her A Stranger in Olondria is a bookshop of dreams."—Greer Gilman
In this hypnotic debut Jevik the pepper merchant's son dreams of far Olondria. Raised by his tutors on the written dreams of the distant city, when he gets the opportunity to travel there, his life is thrown off track when he is haunted by the ghost of a girl whom he must face down before he can go free. Reading has never been so seductive, so dangerous.
Sofia Samatar is an American of Somali and Swiss German Mennonite background. Her writing has appeared in Clarkesworld, Stone Telling, Apex, and Strange Horizons. She wrote A Stranger in Olondria in Yambio, South Sudan, where she worked as an English teacher. She has worked in Egypt and now lives in the USA with her family.