Trudie's Reviews > What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
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bookshelves: africa, read-2017, read-harder-2017, short-stories-novella


Short stories, especially from debut authors, seem to me like an opportunity for writers to pull on different shoes and walk around in them for a while. A low risk way to play with different genres and voices without the burden of committing to an entire novel.
I can see Arimah doing that in this 12 story collection. There were stories that I thought had almost N.K.Jemisinesque fantasy elements. Particularly, What it means when a man falls from the sky and What is a Volcano . The former outlining a world in which mathematicians can cure people of sadness and Europeans are refugees in Africa. The latter seemingly a folktale but both of which I would love to see form the nexus of a great fantasy/dystopian world. The story I enjoyed most was Who will greet you at home , with the creepy hair baby still giving me cause for concern whenever I see a hair brush.

The bulk of the remaining stories are what could be described as a kind of Nigerian domestic noir - tales of mothers and daughters often estranged, a pervading creeping melancholy. Some were outstanding, particularly Windfalls which also had a dark, almost horror vibe to it.

I thought Arimah was on less sure footing when she covered territory that I think Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie does extraordinarily well, stories that rely heavily on character and nuanced observations.
However, it's very early days and I am eager to see what this author does next.
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Reading Progress

May 23, 2017 – Shelved
June 22, 2017 – Started Reading
June 22, 2017 –
page 30
12.93% "I think this will feed my need for more stories from Nigeria"
June 24, 2017 –
72.0% "My god this hair baby story is freaking me out. I can see an entire fantasy/ horror book somewhere in here."
June 26, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire Great review as always! You're powering through the reads right now!

Trudie Ha ! Thanks but this one is pretty small and the Bike Rides I had been churning slowly through for months. Might be time for another "Big Read" soon. Have you done your Sth American book yet ?

message 3: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire No I'm thinking of doing Death in the Andes by Marie Vargas Llosa

message 4: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire Have you got one lined up?

Trudie I thought maybe I should use it as an opportunity for 100 years of Solitude ? Which I have had gathering dust for a while.

message 6: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire Ooooo definitely do I love that one! Same reason for my choice! ☝️

Trudie I have a Llosa lying around as well but not "Death in the Andes" which looks very good as well - a detective novel !

message 8: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire Oooo sounds good!

Sarah I felt pretty much the same about this as you did! :)

Trudie @Sarah yeah I kept reading your review and was like yep 👍🏻 we agree ! I mean it's ok as a debut short story collection but it's not completely rocking my world. However I DO want to see what she does next.

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