My favourite short story collection of 2018, so far.

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“There is this thing that distance does where it subtracts warmth and context and history and each find that they are arguing with a stranger.”

When I finished the last page, I wanted to turn back and start over, that’s just how brilliant this was.

What it Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Leslie Nneka Arimah is an exquisitely conceived collection of realist and fantastical stories. The theme revolves around mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters,  their complex relationships, and conflicting desires, their turmoils, and strengths unified by a sense of resolve to hold on to what belongs to them. Her stories are playful and poignant, serious and sardonic, tinged with magic on the edges, the characters portraying a deep sense of yearning for that elusive feeling of love, hope, comfort and home.

“They are playing azigo and whenever the girl makes a good move, she crows in a very unladylike way and yells, ‘In your face!’ and he laughs every time. He does not wonder where she gets this, this streak of fire. He only knows that it keeps the wolves of the world at bay and he must never let it die out.”

There’s such candor, such style, such impact packaged so simply that you don’t quite realise its pierced your heart. That is how I’d describe her writing style. It instantly grips you and makes you want to turn the page. I didn’t want her stories to end. It was fantastic, easily the best collection I’ve read this year. There wasn’t a single dud in this collection, just stories that were really good and ones that were even better. Highly, higly recommend!

Rating: 5/5

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