• The Scent of Burnt Flowers

  • A Novel
  • By: Blitz Bazawule
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Fleeing persecution in 1960s America, a Black couple seeks asylum in Ghana, but fresh dangers and old secrets threaten their newfound freedom in this hypnotic debut novel.

“I am truly blown away by this novel.”—Jacqueline Woodson, New York Times bestselling author of Red at the Bone

When the windshield of his Chevy Impala shatters in a dark diner parking lot in Alabama, Melvin moves without thinking. A split-second reaction marrows in his bones from the days of war, but this time it is the safety of his fiancé, Bernadette, at stake. Impulse keeps them alive, and yet they flee with blood on their hands. What is life like now that they are fugitives? Pack passports. Empty bank accounts. Set their old life on fire. The couple disguise themselves as a pastor and a reluctant pastor’s wife who’s hiding a secret from her fiancé. With a persistent FBI agent on their trail, they travel to Ghana to seek the help of Melvin’s old college friend who happens to be the country’s embattled president, Kwame Nkrumah.

The couple’s chance encounter with Ghana’s most beloved highlife musician, Kwesi Kwayson, who’s on his way to perform for the president, sparks a journey full of suspense, lust, magic, and danger as Nkrumah’s regime crumbles around them. What was meant to be a fresh start quickly spirals into chaos, threatening both their relationship and their lives. Kwesi and Bernadette’s undeniable attraction and otherworldly bond cascades during their three-day trek, and so does Melvin’s intense jealousy. All three must confront one another and their secrets, setting off a series of cataclysmic events.

Steeped in the history and mythology of postcolonial West Africa at the intersection of the civil rights movement in America, this gripping and ambitious debut merges political intrigue, magical encounters, and forbidden romance in an epic collision of morality and power.

©2022 Blitz Bazawule (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Blitz Bazawule is a phenomenal storyteller. The Scent of Burnt Flowers is at once deeply real and surprisingly magical. I am truly blown away by this novel.”—Jacqueline Woodson, New York Times bestselling author of Red at the Bone

“Blitz Bazawule’s debut novel is so alive, so cinematic. I am thrilled to have fallen into this—a colorful, delicious ride through the senses and beyond; a tale of danger, love, and all the small, true things that will not be named.”—Yrsa Daley-Ward, PEN Ackerley Prize–winning author of The Terrible 

“This story has magic, political conspiracy, and romance, along with the historical elements of the U.S. civil rights movement and Ghanaian colonization. It will appeal to readers of many genres who enjoy an eccentric cast of characters in a vibrant historical setting.”—Library Journal

What listeners say about The Scent of Burnt Flowers

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Story felt incomplete

The story was very disconnected. It went from reality to fantasy and it left me confused in the end. Even the title is confusing.

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Wonderful

The story was captivating! The narration was excellent! Can't wait to see the movie! Thank you for this offering.

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Such an engaging storyline!!

This book had me on the edge of my seat the entire read! The end left my mouth opened!

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Mystical Missions of Monarchy

Loved it, liked it, puzzled by it. I really appreciated the fearless approach and writing style of the author. He took chances as he intertwined fiction with reality and the past with the future. Although his characters each had a definitive role to play, they never really evolved into anything unexpected. I couldn't stop wanting more than I was receiving. The book was enchanting enough but I wanted fascination. I would recommend as a good read.

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Rambling Amateurish Writing

I tried to give it two stars overall on the basis of Dion Graham's excellent performance, but four stars came on.

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This story has a NEW flavor!

I was surprised by the ending and was left wanting more!! I have so many questions! Especially about the guitar!!