'Skin of the Sea' Book Club Readalong Day 2!By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @betterwithabookinmyhand
Welcome to the second day of our book club read-along for OwlCrate's December book, Skin of the Sea!
Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 6-9 of Skin of the Sea, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.
Please note that there is a content warning I encourage you to read at the beginning of the book before starting!
Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box! Don't forget, you can also post about the readalong on Instagram with the hashtag #OCSkinOfTheSea for another chance to win!
The story continues...
The next day Simidele instructs Kola on how to summon Yemoja, and tells him to not speak unless asked. Once she appears and Simidele tells her what she has done, the orisa roars in anger and eventually collapses to the sand, telling them that what Simidele has done will be lead to death.
Yemoja explains that when Olodumare created humans they begged to be made different, and in granting this wish division in humans occurred. In the wars and chaos that followed Olodumare decreed that humans must find their own way, not to be interfered with by the orisa. When Yemoja created the Mami Wata it was seen as blurring the line of what was allowed, and she was punished by Esu, Olodumare’s messenger, and most powerful orisa. Esu was jealous of Yemoja’s ability to created the Mami Wata, and taking Kola from the sea was not what the Mami Wata were created to do. They will need to seek out Olodumare and ask for absolution or risk the death of all Mami Wata.
Because it was Simidele’s actions that took Kola from the sea, it is she who must ask for Olodumare’s forgiveness. In order to get to him she must track down the babalawo who has two obsidian rings in his possession that when worn together will grant and an audience with Olodumare. They are at all costs to avoid Esu, even though he is Olodumare’s messenger. Kola mentions that there is a babalawo near his village, and describes the effigies of Yemoja that he has. Yemoja thinks this is the correct babalawo and Kola says that he will take Simidele to his village and make the introduction, but will not reveal where the village is. Yemoja gives Simidele an emerald dagger to help on their journey and before leaving warns that it is forbidden for a Mami Wata to fall in love with a human, and if she were to act on it her form would disappear and she would be nothing more than sea foam.
Yemoja provides them with a small boat and instructs them to follow the east current across the sea and makes Simidele commit the prayer that will summon Olodumare to memory. Once out at sea Kola explains that he needs to get back to his family, and his siblings, because it’s his job to take care of them, and that they are special, although he doesn’t explain how. He eventually thanks Simi for pulling him from the sea. Kola sees the dagger Yemoja gave her and when asked if she knows how to use it she is pulled into a memory of someone calling her their daughter and forcing her to practice with the weapon.
Simidele is thrown into a memory of her and Ara searching the forest for pears for her father’s Ceremony of Knowledge when they are surrounded by the pale skinned òyìnbó, Simidele now remembering she was captured. Coming back to herself they are alongside the ship, but upon looking up they see people with brown skin like their own, welcoming them aboard.
They are led to the hatchway to the hold below, bringing up Simidele’s memory of being led by the òyìnbó aboard the ship, watching other men fight back and die, and soon to be locked in darkness. Kola’s prompting brings her from the memories.
They are introduced to Abayomi, the captain of the ship, whose purpose is to search down and attack slave ships, saving people if they can. Kola gives them directions to the ship he was on and Abayomi gives them supplies for their onward journey. Simidele sees people dressed as if they are from her home, Oyo-Ile, as more memories return to her. A feeling of wrongness comes over her and as she is again joined by Kola lightning strikes only meters from the ship and above is the orisa Sango, looking as if he is tearing the sky apart.
- What do you think Kola is keeping from Simidele? Do you think he actually knows where the babalawo is?
- Why do you think Sango has appeared in the sky now? Do you think Esu has somehow found out where they are?
- It seems the longer Simidele stays in her human form the more memories she recovers. Do you think this will impact her roll as a Mami Wata?
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