A collection of 21 short stories, set in Africa, revolves around the happiness and tragedies that families experience.
Brisibe-Dorgu’s (Love So Pure, 2019, etc.) tales share a strong theme of family. In “The Golden Bird,” for example, Ebiere’s parents beat her after she inadvertently let their prized bird fly away. Believing they’ve killed her, they abandon their daughter, whom a high priestess subsequently takes in, nurses back to health, and raises as her own. Similarly, Tupele’s family in “The Dog” believes he’s “too attached” to his canine companion, Kposa. But Kposa proves that fierce loyalty can sustain a bond for, it seems, eternity. Some of the stories are grim, such as “Rope Around Oyinbra,” in which the titular girl seems to suffer endlessly, most notably from a stranger’s brutal assault. But there are buoyant tales as well and even occasional signs of drollness. “Gold Everywhere” follows Amunyai, a man with four pregnant wives. Upon giving birth, they are surprisingly discontent that “he did not transfer his good looks to their children.” In the darkly comic title story, Esegi frequently seeks advice, especially regarding his wife, Alabata, from his friend Ewiri. But as it happens, Ewiri’s guidance may be a bit misdirected. Brisibe-Dorgu writes in a plain, no-frills style that perfectly suits her fablelike tales, complete with morals that, while apparent, are not heavy-handed. In the standout story “Three Muturus,” Muturu is the “beauty queen” of her village. When she can’t decide among three suitors, her mother suggests that marrying all three would benefit the family. But the ultimate plan to do just that has a shocking, unfortunate turn. The author excels at narratives with such unexpected endings, from outright startling (“Human Faced Bird”) to pleasantly amusing (“Tiger and Goat”). Brisibe-Dorgu concludes most of the works with brief but helpful glossaries defining African dialects with which readers may not be familiar. These entail greetings, exclamations like “aboo,” and full lines of dialogue.
Indelible tales of hope, humor, and humanity.