Tag Archive: fiction

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What an amazing collection of stories from a truly incredible author. Adichie shows the reader, through these 12 stories, so many of the stories of Nigeria and Nigerians. From women living in America, separate from their Big Man husbands to students hiding in empty shop front to escape from a riot these stories tell a multitude of vibrant, real and often heart-breaking realties.

Africa is so present in all the stories, possibly especially those of Africans in America. Adichie tells it as it is, no sugar-coating or misty-eyed out of focus view. She addresses the fear and loneliness of immigrants as well as the pride and strength they have. She looks at the connections between loved ones and those lost, and makes the protagonist, and therefore also the reader, examine preconceptions and opinions.

These stories will grab you and suck you in; make you want to know more and wish that each were part of a full novel about the characters. Each story is complete, but they did leave me yearning to know more of the people. I wanted their past and future – I wanted to demand to know more, dammit!

Adichie is all she is cracked up to be – I feel so lucky to be an aware, developing feminist reader at the time she is producing.

A note: when I first started reading this book I didn’t realise it was a series of stories. So I read the first few stories as though they were chapters in a book, storylines that would join up eventually. As soon as I did work out that this was not the case it was worth going back and rereading the first few stories as complete pieces. And I realised how differently short stories require the reader read.

1 million stars out of 10

dead ends

Dead ends and Sharp bends by Angela Meadon

I got this book in exchange for an honest review.

Short stories are tricky things – the author has very little time to get the reader sucked in, in harmony with their writing style, and understanding everything that is not said as well as that which is. And as the reader, you have to be able to get the author immediately to fully appreciate the story. There is no ‘it gets better after the first 100 pages’ with a short story. Liking or disliking a short story really is about how well and quickly the author and reader mesh.

All of that being said, I found this anthology of short stories a bit of a mixed bag. I really liked some of the stories, while I thought others had great potential not quite realised. There were also some which I didn’t get at all, and some which felt a little forced.

But that is not to say I don’t think it is an anthology worth reading – I certainly think it is. Meadon has some interesting ideas and twists, and sometimes I put my kindle down at the end of a story and actually physically shuddered saying ugh because the story was so vivid.

The book could have done with a slightly tighter edit – little things like using a character’s name twice in a sentence when he is the only participant, instead of using ‘he’ is an editorial thing, not an author thing. And it jars unnecessarily.

If Meadon produced another anthology I’d read it too because, for all the little things and the few stories which didn’t work for me, I think she is an interesting author.