April 30, 2017

What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah | Book Review

What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky is a collection of twelve exceptional short stories by new author, Lesley Nneka Arimah. It begins with
The Future Looks Good, a tale spanning three generations of women, then continues with War Stories, Wild, Light, Second Chances, Windfalls, Who Will Greet You at Home, Buchi's Girls, What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky, Glory, What Is a Volcano? and ends with Redemption, a tale about a young girl who's enamored with the new housemaid next door and unable to put into words the new feelings this arrival stirs in her. I loved every story in this impressive debut collection. Every. Single. Story.

The first time I read anything by Lesley was last year when I reviewed the Caine Prize for African Writing 2016 Anthology in which What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky was shortlisted for the prestigious prize. In spite of that I still felt like I was coming to this collection without a good sense of Lesley and the directions she would/could go literarily. The Future Looks Good is a great opener. It's heartwarming from the beginning but in the last sentence Lesley thrusts a knife into my chest. I had to pause like...ohh gawd... Why would you string us along like that? Like everything would be alright? I was shocked, "hurt", impressed, and nervously excited about the rest of the collection. Again and again Lesley showed that she wasn't one for happy endings and I love that in any author that I read. Her tales cover love, heartbreak, grief, guilt, homosexuality etcetera. Windfalls was goood. Who Will Greet You at Home seems like the sort of tale you'd expect from Stephen King. I couldn't finish it in one sitting lol. My anxiety rose with each page I flipped especially because I had become aware of what Lesley could do. I love Who Will Greet You at Home a lot. Love it. Somehow What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky felt like a brand new tale and that ending... No... (insert sad emoji). What Is a Volcano is brilliant, well written and so absorbing. I love it. I don't know if it's drawn from an actual folklore told by any of the various community of peoples Lesley's multicultural background has exposed her to but I really like it. Lesley's tales are unforgettable. Thank you Lesley. Thank you. You should read this. 

April 16, 2017

Book Release!!! | "Resemblance" by Afolabi Opanubi

Resemblance is a new novel authored by Nigeria's Afolabi Opanubi. Bloggers will recognize him as the man behind the captivating blog site, Through My Eyes. It was his platform and a space where he shared short stories and think pieces one of which is The Tufiakwa Syndrome, one of my favorite pieces written by him. Afolabi disappeared for a while from the blogsphere and now he has reappeared bearing his debut effort, Resemblance. We don't often see bloggers successfully pursue their literary dreams and that's one of the many reasons I'm excited about Resemblance. Other Nigerian bloggers who've walked this path before include Onyeka Nwelue and Myne Whitman. Onyeka Nwelue ran a now defunct blog and then went on to pen his debut novel The Abyssinian Boy and the rest, as they say, is history. Myne Whitman ran multiple blogs and websites and went ahead to pen A Heart to Mend and A Love Rekindled and has been linked to many exciting projects. I'm rooting so hard for Afolabi Opanubi and his new novel. Here's a synopsis:

"Bose, an art and fashion photographer living in Toronto, discovers on meeting her estranged father, that he has become a man with no past. After years of keeping her distance from him, Bose decides to reconcile with her father. But when she meets with him, she quickly learns that he has mysteriously lost his memories of not only her, but of his family and himself. Shaken, Bose tries to find a solution to her father's ailment. She suspects that he suffers from a form of dementia. She will later discover that to help him regain his memories and lost self, she will have to contend with her own past. Resemblance follows Bose as she traces her family's journey from their home country, Nigeria, to Canada, and confronts the tensions which tore them apart. Reasons behind her family's troubles and their experience of racism are laid bare." 

Here's a brief introduction to the author:

Afolabi Opanubi
Afolabi Opanubi was born in Lagos, but grew up in Port Harcourt. He left for university in Canada when he was sixteen; he studied and worked there for over six years. He writes both fiction and non-fiction. His writing has appeared in The Drum Literary Magazine, 34th Parallel, Brittle Paper and Africa is a Country. He has participated in literary workshops such as: Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop, and The Toronto Writers' Cooperative. He currently lives in Lagos. 

Resemblance is 424 pages long (based on my e-book page count), I'm currently at page 141 and I'm impressed by Afolabi's storytelling ability. BUY your own copy of Resemblance via: 

- Glendora Book Store at Ikeja City Mall