Short fiction by some of Africa’s most talented writers.
Since 2000, the annual Caine Prize in African Writing has celebrated some of the most innovative and evocative English-language short fiction by African writers. This collection, which features the five stories shortlisted for this year's prize, as well as 11 stories written during the 2017 Caine Prize Writers’ Workshop, held in Tanzania, continues that tradition. The anthology opens impressively with “Who Will Greet You At Home,” one of two stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah (author of Kirkus Prize finalist What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, 2017), a harrowing and subtly complex tale about a young girl whose obsession with becoming a mother has dire consequences. The often fraught relationship between parent and child is a theme found in several other pieces, including Darla Rudakaubana’s painful “Family Ties” and Lydia Kasese’s surprising “My Mother’s Project,” an exploration of the limits of perspective that unveils what it means to see one’s parents as complicated people. The prize winner, Bushra al-Fadil’s “The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away,” is a vibrant delineation of a summer day in the market and a fateful encounter. Agazit Abate’s “Fidel,” a humorous recounting of the main character’s breakup with her boyfriend and her immense love for Fidel Castro, adds levity to the collection. Love and sexuality are also expertly explored in Arinze Ifeakandu’s achingly beautiful “God’s Children are Little Broken Things” and Daniel Rafiki’s speculative fiction, “Five Is Not Half of Ten,” which will leave readers asking the proverbial, What happened next? Indeed, all the authors render their stories well, building hauntingly familiar or fascinatingly new worlds and exploring them creatively.
A wonderful set of 16 stories that covers a lot of ground and features many genres—from myth and folklore to the postmodern and experimental—in a way that will surely satisfy readers.