We’re thankful that Akwaeke Emezi’s deeply emotional You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty was our July book club title. The novel combines numerous themes that we love to chew on, asking big questions about how we heal, the power of art, and the importance of human touch. 

The subjects that Emezi explores are ones that are close to our heart, but Emezi’s writing is also divine. Each page felt like snacking on a sensual treat, and the sex scenes are off the charts hot. Indeed this is a book filled with passion, but also humour—it’s about romantic love and also friendship love, and it’s the first novel we’ve read that bounces between New York and the Caribbean. It was interesting and a real immersive pleasure to move from the bustling blocks in Brooklyn to the lush sundrenched hilltops atop a tropical island. 

We hope you’ve been reading along, whether independently or with your very own book club. To help spark conversation, we’ve created a discussion guide. We hope it leads to fascinating insights about the book, but also inspires you to share your own stories that were triggered by the novel.

  1. Akwaeke Emezi’s exquisite novel explores how we find new life after a traumatic experience, and how we move from a state of depression to a place of hope. How did this resonate with you? Have you ever experienced a major shift in your life, similar to Feyi?
  2. In You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty, Feyi is an artist, and her art featured in the story deals with the trauma she has lived through. Has art ever played a similar role in your life? How does art help us?
  3. We found Akwaeke’s use of language to be incredibly sensual. What theme or juicy bit did you enjoy reading the most? What part of the novel gave you goosebumps? Made you hungry for more?
  4. We love that this book takes place in both New York and the Caribbean. Have you ever read anything similar? What did you enjoy about having a story set in both of these very different locations?
  5. Joy. What a great character she is. How would you describe Joy? In your opinion, what did she bring to the story?
  6. What do you appreciate most about this book? What new ideas has Akwaeke’s novel made you consider?
  7. The title of this book has really stuck with us. What do you think Akwaeke is trying to say with this title? What was your reaction when you first noticed the cover?
  8. Lastly—do we ever really recover from the death of a loved one? What do you think Akwaeke was trying to say about this subject?

We hope you enjoyed reading You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty as much as we did. We’ll be sharing August’s title very soon!