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Na’amen Gobert Tilahun Books In Order

Publication Order of Wrath & Athenaeum Books

The Root (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Tree (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Na’amen Gobert Tilahun is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy ‘The Root’. He spent most of his childhood split between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Then he moved to the Bay Area once he completed his high school graduation. He also writes non fiction and has done a significant amount of freelance writing. His articles and poems have been published in a variety of online magazines like io9.com, Queers Dig Time Lords, Stone Telling, The Big Click, Eleven Eleven, faggot dinosaur, Full of Crows. After the publication of his debut venture ‘The Root’ he was listed as the top 13 Bay Area Authors to Look out for by 7 X 7 magazine. He has been into the web of writing stories since he was a kid. His writing however got its due recognition only when he reached 7th grade. His decision to take writing seriously came much later when he was in college. He has been a connoisseur of stories from an early age and would read up whatever he could find. His writing has a flair which can twerk the reality into fantastical objects and mythological ideas. His unique talent is in the realization of his personal stories in a multi-dimensional setup with proper research and a unique voice. His urban fantasy stands apart in the sense that it mixes his own lived experience with his wild imaginations. He believes that it was his lonely walks in the night when he would walk home from his night classes which actually triggered his ability to experience stories.

His major influences have been Octavia Butler, Rebecca Sugar, Sophie Campbell, Joanna Russ, Ntozake Shange, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Afua Richardson, Julie Taymor, Marjorie Liu, Ursula Vermon, Beyonce. He however doesn’t like to restrict his influences to fiction writing or novels. As a matter of fact, what actually drives him and motivates him to tell stories is the act of storytelling. It can be in any form – graphic novels, music, TV shows, plays, movies, poetry.

He carefully researches into each of his characters before creating their graphs. His fascination for mythology and religion stems from his early days of college when he studied world religion. His treatment of the biblical characters in his debut novel ‘The Root’ is very mature as he doesn’t unnecessarily resort to the Hollywood norms of biblical characters as angles. Much to contrary, his characters are less flesh and more imagination, less hyper-real and more mythological. Hence you will come across the gritty balls of fire, goat heads and moulds of eye when you will read it. His books do not have overt social themes. Ideas of social equality and racial discrimination are closeted in the subtleties. Reading between the lines is the only way to come to terms with the grittiness of the author’s imagination and reality. His characters become real because they are full of pathos and doubts. His imagination of the alternate reality thus blends in with his sensibility of the social reality. He displays an extraordinary control and flair in handling themes of repressed sexuality throughout his writing.

‘The Root’ his first major publication was the first part in the ‘Wrath and Athenaeum’ trilogy. It was published in the year 2017. The next two books in line are ‘The Tree’ and ‘The Fruit’. All of the three stories have been based in San Francisco primarily and draws a lot of inspiration from his own lived experiences in San Francisco. In his childhood, the author used to spend a lot of his summers in San Francisco and the trilogy carries the flavour of those memories he fondly reminisces of the city. This is best illustrated in his final part of the trilogy ‘The Fruit’ since the other two books are set up mostly in an alternate dimension all together and have only minor chapters dedicated to San Francisco.

The trilogy is centred around two central characters – Erik and Lil, two damaged teenagers. The character ‘Erik’ is loosely based on his persona and his life’s experiences. This trilogy is different from the other Urban Fantasies that regularly hit the book shelves in the sense that it treats the city as a multicultural and diverse experience. It is groundbreaking because it destroys several stereotypes – for example the straight white guy, the girl next door. This helps to add more flesh to the characters. A gay black man is often not what we get to see in a hero’s journey – and the author tackles this brilliantly by painting him as a part of the hard reality in the form of a violent and aggressive man.

‘The Root’ was listed as an ALA Top 10 Rainbow List Book for the year 2017. Erik is a socially aware black man who is conscious of his race and identity. Throughout the story, the conflict of identities, for instance a black gay man in the western world, remains a motif but doesn’t overpower the plot. As Na’amen Gobert Tilahun likes to believe an author is a 25% plotter and a 75 % pantser, he weaves an epic fantasy into an urban legend. The plot is fairly simple – the world is now destroyed and the only hopes of saving the world is on two damaged teenagers, Erik and Lil. Can hope be even pinned on them? But there is no choice. The story starts with Erik’s discovery of his origin- he comes to know that he has descended from the Gods. Now that his fate is already designed to fight supernatural creatures, Erik will have to make a lot of tough choices. The ideas that are in the first book will be carried on to the second and the third part of the trilogy. Na’amen Gobert Tilahun in an article wrote that the first part is a thread of small ideas which will expand into a grand scheme when they will reach the second and third part of the trilogy.

‘The Tree’ is slated for publication in 2018. It is set in Corpiliu which is an alternate dimension to the real world. Lil has already lost her family and in Zebub, she will have to figure out a way to turn things around for the better. Erik on the other hand is haunted by the ghost of his ex and moves to Zebub. Now he will have to deal with many questions concerning his origin. To achieve the impossible, he will have to first fight his own demons and then the taboos of Corpiliu. A war that was developing in the ‘The Root’ will be raged between the earth and Corpiliu in the second part of the book. The book promises to be a ticket to dark magic and the inner worlds.

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