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What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

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What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky PDF, ePub eBook A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home. In “Who Will Greet You at Home,” a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In “Wild,” a disastrous nig A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home. In “Who Will Greet You at Home,” a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In “Wild,” a disastrous night out shifts a teenager and her Nigerian cousin onto uneasy common ground. In "The Future Looks Good," three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war, while in "Light," a father struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And in the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to "fix the equation of a person" - with rippling, unforeseen repercussions. Evocative, playful, subversive, and incredibly human, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky heralds the arrival of a prodigious talent with a remarkable career ahead of her.

30 review for What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    "Girls with fire in their bellies will be forced to drink from a well of correction till the flames die out. But my tongue stirred anyway." Of all the critically-acclaimed books I've been eager to read this year, I have to say What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky fell pretty low down on the list. The Goodreads ratings haven't been great and, honestly, it didn't sound as exciting as, say, Her Body and Other Parties. But I enjoyed it a whole lot more. I can see why it might not appeal to eve "Girls with fire in their bellies will be forced to drink from a well of correction till the flames die out. But my tongue stirred anyway." Of all the critically-acclaimed books I've been eager to read this year, I have to say What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky fell pretty low down on the list. The Goodreads ratings haven't been great and, honestly, it didn't sound as exciting as, say, Her Body and Other Parties. But I enjoyed it a whole lot more. I can see why it might not appeal to everyone. These stories are fragments, really; scenes from family life in Nigeria and among Nigerian expats in America. But it was so refreshing to sit down and read a collection of unpretentious short stories about people and relationships. Despite containing magical realism, dallying in historical fiction, and experimenting with dystopia, the stories in this book are not drowning in dark metaphors and dreamy prose. The messages - if there at all - are subtle. Arimah captures quiet moments between fathers, daughters, mothers, sons, husbands and wives, and packs them full of emotion. These small insights into their lives were extremely poignant and powerful. One such powerful example is “Light”, narrated from the perspective of Enebeli, in which his wife goes to study - and later work - in America. When she brings their daughter to live with her, Enebeli is forced to watch the fire die out in her over Skype conversations, curbed by the influence of American life. “Before she quiets in a country that rewards her brand of boldness, in her black of body, with an incredulous fascination that makes her put it away.” Some of the stories are dark, such as “Windfalls”, in which a mother purposely harms herself and her daughter in order to sue and collect the payouts. This lifestyle takes ever more of a toll on her daughter, both physically and mentally, until it eventually reaches a disturbing climax. The fantastical appears in “Who Will Greet You at Home.” In this story, a woman makes babies out of yarn, wrapping paper, and human hair, hoping Mama will bless them with life. In exchange, she trades in a bit of her joy (and other emotions) at a time. Emotions are also up for grabs in the titular "What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky", which imagines a future where climate change has brought floods to much of Britain and North America, resulting in another flood - this time of British immigrants into Nigeria where they form the “Biafra-Britannia Alliance.” The only story I disliked was “What is a Volcano?” A very strange tale that leaned too heavily on the magical metaphors refreshingly absent from most of the other stories. It is about a feud between the god of ants and the goddess of rivers and was, for me, the least emotionally engaging of the bunch. All of the stories somehow relate to Nigeria - its history, its future, its culture and religions. Whether it be reminiscing about the civil war in the aptly-named "War Stories", or exploring the experiences of Nigerian immigrants living in the United States in such as "Glory", the country has a strong influence on each tale. Many of them also feature spirited young brown girls who burn too brightly for the world around them. The author does not go easy on them - they are pushed into marriages, deal with sexual abuse that no one else will believe, are beaten frequently by their parents, and can be spiteful and cruel - but you can tell, despite it all, that the author has a lot of love for them; she is on their side. And I was on their side, too. When the characters are this strong, complex and memorable-- how could I not be? Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 5 out of 5

    Roxane

    With her luminous debut collection, What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, Lesley NNeka Arimah marks her richly deserved place in contemporary fiction. At the center of each impeccably written story, Arimah offers up a new kind of yearning--for love, for peace, for comfort, for home. Never have needful things been so gorgeously displayed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pouting Always

    This was a collection of short stories and at first I didn't quite catch on so I kept reading and I was like what the fuck is happening why do the characters keep changing. I really enjoyed all the stories in this collection though and that's quite rare. In fact I was kind of sad when the stories would end because I kept wanting to read more of all of them. I really really loved Who Will Greet You at Home, where a women creates a baby for herself from different materials but each child falls apa This was a collection of short stories and at first I didn't quite catch on so I kept reading and I was like what the fuck is happening why do the characters keep changing. I really enjoyed all the stories in this collection though and that's quite rare. In fact I was kind of sad when the stories would end because I kept wanting to read more of all of them. I really really loved Who Will Greet You at Home, where a women creates a baby for herself from different materials but each child falls apart until she uses hair, regardless of the stories warning against doing so. I really loved the magic realism woven into the stories and the story telling. I just can't get over how good all the stories were and I feel like I should summarize them all but I'm feeling super lazy so I'm not going to but I definitely am going to go look into the author and if she has other works.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    In these twelve powerful stories that embrace magical-realist elements while deploying a powerfully empathetic understanding of character and circumstance, Lesley Nneka Arimah explores how parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends, navigate conflicting cultures and struggle to reconcile conflicting desires, wants, and needs. “There was only so much a mother could ask a daughter to bear before that bond became bondage.” Going into to this I had no idea what to expect, but the aut In these twelve powerful stories that embrace magical-realist elements while deploying a powerfully empathetic understanding of character and circumstance, Lesley Nneka Arimah explores how parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends, navigate conflicting cultures and struggle to reconcile conflicting desires, wants, and needs. “There was only so much a mother could ask a daughter to bear before that bond became bondage.” Going into to this I had no idea what to expect, but the author quickly garnered my attention with her on-point writing style and her ability to capture quietly specific moments that left me head spinning in awe. My favorite short story remains to be the second tale (“War Stories”) because it's the one that made me initially fall in love with the storytelling. In it a father sits down with his daughter to share his war stories in order to educate and "discipline" her after an unfortunate incident at school. What fascinated and pulled me in so much with this short story in particular was the father, “whose personality and humor are of a quieter sort. ” Also, the feminist undertones in it were guaranteed to leave me satisfied. Which leads me to the next story (“Wild”), revolved around a teenager on a visit back to Nigeria and the tenuous sisterhood she and her cousin attain after a disastrous night out shifts them onto uneasy new ground. It's it this story that I came to love the writing style, which I noticed to be my favorite kind of eerily specific. Especially in this next paragraph with the main character holding her cousin's baby boy: “He likes you.” She didn’t sound like she liked that. Or me. “What can I say, I have a way with handsome young men. And aren’t you handsome? Aren’t you deliciously handsome?” The boy squealed and giggled as I picked him up and pretended to snack on his arms and belly. When I stopped, he settled his head into my neck. “He must be tired,” Chinyere said. “Let me take him.” She got up, pulled him out of my arms, and settled him in the hollow of the mattress she’d just vacated. A week ago you couldn’t have told me I would enjoy the weight of a child or feel intense satisfaction when he gripped my shirt as his mother removed him. ” The detailed last line, capturing that shared moment with a child, is one I truly forgot I loved until I reread it in the above. And not only was the writing great, but we also had some magical-realism elements thrown in different tales and fables. Like in “Second Chances,” when a daughter greets her mother's return from the dead with disbelief and anger because she appears to have stepped out of a family snapshot. Also, this story started out with an incredible paragraph: “Ignore for a moment that two years out of grad school I’m old enough to buy my own bed and shouldn’t ask my father to chip in on a mattress, so that he shows up with my mother, who looks like she’s stepped out of a photograph, and she tries to charm the salesman, something she was never good at, but it somehow works this time and he takes off 20 percent. Ignore for a moment that she is wearing an outfit I haven’t seen in eighteen years, not since Nigeria, when she was pregnant with my younger sister, though not yet showing, and fell down the concrete steps to our house, ripping the dress from hem to thigh. Ignore that she flits from bed to bed, bouncing on each one like she hasn’t sat on a mattress in a while, and the salesman follows her around like he’d like to crawl in with her. Ignore all this because my mother has been dead for eight years.” It had everything you'd expected (and also not expect) out of a tale like this: sadness, melancholiness, and pensiveness. Also, when the mother finally interacts with her eldest daughter, I was a goner: “Nnwam, what do you want from me?” I want you to boil the chicken with onions and salt. I want you to melt the palm oil on medium heat and sizzle ogbono till it dissolves. I want you to cough when the pepper tickles your throat. I want you to sprinkle in crayfish so tiny I believed, at age four, they’d been harvested half-formed from their mother’s womb. I want you to watch the ogbono thicken the water and add the stockfish and the okra and the spinach and the boiled meat and the salt you never put enough of and call us when it’s ready and say grace and be gracious and forgive me. The answer I give: the lopsided shrug I manage when I can’t find words.” It was sad and specific and tragic. I loved it. Speaking of which, “Light” is just as harrowing as the aforementioned tale. In it Enebeli Okwara struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And what most struck a chord with me was the ending of the story and all that led up to it. Because of the straining mother-daughter relationship, and in an effort to grow closer to her daughter, the mother, who's living in America for her education and career, requests her to move in. And so the closing paragraph from the father's pov really struck me: “But before all this, before the elders are called in, before even his own father sides with his wife, and his only unexpected ally is his wife’s sister. Before he bows to the pressure of three generations on his back. Before he sobs publicly in the Murtala Muhammed airport, cries that shake his body and draw concern and offers of water from passersby. Before he spends his evenings in the girl’s room, sitting with the other things she left behind, counting down the time difference till they can Skype. Before she returns from school and appears on his screen more subdued than he’s ever seen her. Before he tries to animate her with stories of the lovelorn boy who keeps asking after her. Before she looks offscreen as though for coaching and responds, Please, Daddy, don’t talk to me like that. Before she grows cautious under the mothering of a woman who loves but cannot comprehend her. Before she quiets in a country that rewards her brand of boldness, in her black of body, with an incredulous fascination that makes her put it away. Before all that, she is eleven and Enebeli and the girl sit on the steps to the house watching people walk by their ramshackle gate. 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 yet 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.” Some stories, however, were a bit harder to digest for me because of that specificness that managed to physically sting me. Like in “Windfalls,” when a mother drops her kid in public places - multiple times throughout the years - for settlement money in court. Or in “Who Will Greet You at Home,” when a woman exhausted by childlessness, resorts to fashioning a charmed infant out of human hair. But just like with Roxane Gay's Difficult Women, the short stories in here are characterised by their vividness, immediacy and the author's seemingly endless ability to conjure worlds at once familiar and unsettlingly different. I cannot wait for what Lesley Nneka Arimah will bring out next. 4.5/5 stars Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission! Support creators you love. Buy a Coffee for nat (bookspoils) with Ko-fi.com/bookspoils

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Library book- Overdrive- Audiobook.... narrated by Adjoa Andoh I had no idea what to expect from this book when I - ‘took-a- chance’ and downloaded this ‘available now’ library book. I didn’t know it won a Kirkus Prize for fiction — I didn’t even know that it was ‘short stories’. The very first thing I notice was how Delightful - AWESOME - Adjoa Andoh’s voice was to listen to. At the very beginning- although LOVING THE NARRATOR’S VOICE....I was struggling following along —but before long - the e Library book- Overdrive- Audiobook.... narrated by Adjoa Andoh I️ had no idea what to expect from this book when I️ - ‘took-a- chance’ and downloaded this ‘available now’ library book. I️ didn’t know it won a Kirkus Prize for fiction — I️ didn’t even know that it was ‘short stories’. The very first thing I️ notice was how Delightful - AWESOME - Adjoa Andoh’s voice was to listen to. At the very beginning- although LOVING THE NARRATOR’S VOICE....I️ was struggling following along —but before long - the effort turned into ease ..... Then I️ was laughing — “Guilt my mom in getting a hotel?” Oh my God .... I️ was hysterically laughing at times..... BUT....these stories are not ha-ha funny. Disappointment - is all one mother see’s of her daughter. These stories focus on strong Nigerian female — but all of them are dealing with some personal battle TO OVERCOME! Some of these stories are a little preposterous- but that’s what’s also refreshing! “SHIT”..... “cousins are a bitch”...... Be prepared for ( ha) .... a some profanity ...... This book might be about relationships- family - flawed characters- grief & loss- magical realism - a little contemporary- a little dystopian— but really? .... nothing I️ say will mean much of anything. It requires a listeners ear and/or a readers own experience! THIS AUDIOBOOK IS A TRIP! — as in GREAT!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This is the best collection of short stories I have read so far. Granted, I haven't read that many short story collections in the first place, but still. I greatly enjoyed most of these and found myself wishing several of them were full length stories instead. See below for my ratings of each individual story. The Future Looks Good - 5 stars War Stories - 3.5 stars Wild - 4 stars Light - 4 stars Second Chances - 4 stars Windfalls - 5 stars Who Will Greet You At Home - 3 stars Buchi's Girls - 4 stars Wha This is the best collection of short stories I have read so far. Granted, I haven't read that many short story collections in the first place, but still. I greatly enjoyed most of these and found myself wishing several of them were full length stories instead. See below for my ratings of each individual story. The Future Looks Good - 5 stars War Stories - 3.5 stars Wild - 4 stars Light - 4 stars Second Chances - 4 stars Windfalls - 5 stars Who Will Greet You At Home - 3 stars Buchi's Girls - 4 stars What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky - 5 stars Glory - 4 stars What Is A Volcano? - 2 stars Redemption - 3 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)

    I am still waiting for somebody smarter than me to explain what's in the water in Nigeria, why it has so many amazing writers. Now that I've listened to this debut story collection on audio, the question is that much more urgent. Arimah (born in the UK to Nigerian parents, grew up in Nigeria and elsewhere) writes beautifully about a variety of themes; a few stories didn't rise much above the level of anecdote, but most were just stunning.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Halloween shorts! The mud and leaves baby, the porcelain baby and the hair baby: This is a creepy story in the New Yorker magazine, free online at the New Yorker magazine. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: Ogechi, an assistant hairdresser, accidentally unravels the leg of her baby made out of yarn, not noticing its small cries of protest. Not wanting the baby to grow up maimed, she unravels the rest of the baby and decides to try again later, to make a living baby out of some more durable Halloween shorts! The mud and leaves baby, the porcelain baby and the hair baby: This is a creepy story in the New Yorker magazine, free online at the New Yorker magazine. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: Ogechi, an assistant hairdresser, accidentally unravels the leg of her baby made out of yarn, not noticing its small cries of protest. Not wanting the baby to grow up maimed, she unravels the rest of the baby and decides to try again later, to make a living baby out of some more durable material. Ogechi is too destitute to make a baby out of anything expensive; she needs to work with the materials on hand. Luckily a hair salon has lots of hair clippings that won’t be missed by anyone, and Ogechi doesn’t believe the old stories that a baby made out of hairs taken from more than person is dangerous. (<-----She should.) “Who Will Greet You at Home” is a creepy tale with an unusual African setting. Lesley Nneka Arimah has created a fantastical yet down-to-earth culture where women create babies out of different materials ― mud, yarn, raffia, porcelain, paper ― and the babies are then blessed with life by the women’s mothers, or by other women who have the power to give life.Even the raffia children of that morning seemed like dirty sponges meant to soak up misfortune when compared with the china child to whom misfortune would never stick. If Ogechi’s mother had seen the child, she would have laughed at how ridiculous such a baby would be, what constant coddling she would need. It would never occur to her that mud daughters needed coddling, too.If a baby is cared for and kept safe for a full year, it will then turn into a child of flesh, whose personality reflects the materials it was originally made of. Ogechi is estranged from her own mother, so she needs to pay Mama, the cold-hearted proprietor of the hair salon, to give her child life. And since Ogechi doesn’t have enough money, she needs to pay Mama in other ways. There were a couple of aspects to the plot and setting that didn’t quite hold water for me: men seem to have no place at all in this culture, and most of the women seem to be oddly focused on having a child. The story devolves toward the end into a predictable horror plot. Still, the richly detailed setting was a pleasure to read about, and Ogechi’s pain and desperation at not having a child of her own, her jealousy of other women who do, and her deep longing to have a child that is made of something whimsical and lovely ― not of mud, like Ogechi herself ― feel poignantly real. The New Yorker also has an excellent interview with Arimah, discussing the ideas that went into this particular story

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tayari Jones

    Beautiful beautiful stories. Arimah is so very smart but also funny and big hearted.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4* of five **THIS REVIEW IS OF THE CAINE PRIZE 2016 NOMINATED STORY OF THE SAME TITLE ONLY** A shortlisted story for this very prestigious prize in African literature, which is limited to short fiction but has launched numerous of its sixteen previous recipients into the international literary stratoshphere, Arimah's story is post-apocalyptic climate change fiction set in a world where the entirety of North America and Europe are submerged, the remaining planet absorbing the white refugees Rating: 4* of five **THIS REVIEW IS OF THE CAINE PRIZE 2016 NOMINATED STORY OF THE SAME TITLE ONLY** A shortlisted story for this very prestigious prize in African literature, which is limited to short fiction but has launched numerous of its sixteen previous recipients into the international literary stratoshphere, Arimah's story is post-apocalyptic climate change fiction set in a world where the entirety of North America and Europe are submerged, the remaining planet absorbing the white refugees according to willingness and ability. Arimah's Nigerian background has led her to posit a "Biafran-British Alliance" wherein Nneoma, a Mathematician licensed by the Furcal Center to use her unique grasp of the Furcal Theorem (the Theory of Everything mankind's been seeking for so long) to ease, indeed remove, the experience of grief from the world's many grief-crippled people. She is one of fifty-seven so licensed left in the world, as two others have collapsed and suicided or vanished. This late-21st-century dystopia still has its upper class, and Nneoma specializes in treating their very real ills. Her ex-lover Kioni specializes in the extremely high-need refugees and war-displaced folks whose teeming masses essentially all need grief treatment. It is this wide disparity in choice of service that leads Kioni to sever their relationship and continue her own, morally superior in her judgment, work in New Kenya (identified but undescribed) without Nneoma the hand-holder to the rich. Then Nneoma's mother dies, her father needs a Mathematician to help, and Kioni angrily refuses. Nneoma tries to help her father, but his grief merely enlarges her own, and now she can't even be in her father's presence for the horror it evokes in her. At the end of the day, Nneoma's loneliness is magnified many, many times when a bitter and unexpected event confronts her with the limits humans can't escape despite having Furcal's infinite theory of everything to use to manipulate the world. As the title suggests, hubris is still part of human make-up and the myth of Icarus is as relevant now as it was in the past and will be in the future. The author already has a book deal with Riverhead Books, a tentacle of Penguin Random House, to publish a story collection in 2017. This is great news for story lovers (me!) and proof that even being shortlisted for this powerful prize that most Murrikinz have never heard of confers a star-dust aura to writers. I say that's the best news ever! To paraphrase NoViolet Bulawayo, a previous Caine Prize winner, we need new voices. Now more than ever, in this precarious end stage of the capitalist extraction eceonomy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    3.5 stars I wanted to love this book but struggled to get into it. This short story collection contains so many important things: strong and complex female characters, scenes of Nigerian family life both in Nigeria and in America, and innovative touches of magical realism. Lesley Nneka Arimah captures poignant moments throughout these stories, such as when a child's relationship with their overseas parent fades away, or when a woman from a difficult upbringing discerns that she wants more for her 3.5 stars I wanted to love this book but struggled to get into it. This short story collection contains so many important things: strong and complex female characters, scenes of Nigerian family life both in Nigeria and in America, and innovative touches of magical realism. Lesley Nneka Arimah captures poignant moments throughout these stories, such as when a child's relationship with their overseas parent fades away, or when a woman from a difficult upbringing discerns that she wants more for herself than a successful marriage with a man. Despite these various strengths, I did not connect with the characters that much, perhaps because I felt my attention drawn more to the plot and magical realism elements of each story, rather than the characters' internal emotions and thoughts. Still, I would recommend What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky to anyone who finds the synopsis of the collection interesting. Looking forward to reading more of Arimah's writing in the future and thankful that I have had time to read books like this one during this holiday season.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Raul Bimenyimana

    Wonderful stories, each and every one of them. The twists in the stories, marvellous. The female protagonists in this collection are hurting, uncertain, they don't meet their expectations or those of the ones that are dear to them but carry with them strength and resilience. What a collection of gems this is! I have been reading a good number of books dealing with grief this year and this one had a relatively fresh approach to it. Grief here is palpable, present with the characters not in tempora Wonderful stories, each and every one of them. The twists in the stories, marvellous. The female protagonists in this collection are hurting, uncertain, they don't meet their expectations or those of the ones that are dear to them but carry with them strength and resilience. What a collection of gems this is! I have been reading a good number of books dealing with grief this year and this one had a relatively fresh approach to it. Grief here is palpable, present with the characters not in temporary spans of time that they willingly snap out of and not as a reminder but as a driving force in the characters' lives influencing their actions and decisions and indecisions. I think I have found a new favourite writer with Arimah, which doesn't normally happen for me after reading just one book from a writer :-)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    This was my third short story collection this year and I must say it has cemented me as a gushing fan of the genre. Spectacular, emotional, poignant, moving collection of stories about love, parenting, growing up, marriage, self-awareness, empathy and she stuck a little scifi in with the title story. Squeee!!! Some of it was gut wrenching. But every story seemed highly emotionally charged.(view spoiler)[ The Future Looks Good - Powerful start. Arimah packs a lot of story into very little space. This was my third short story collection this year and I must say it has cemented me as a gushing fan of the genre. Spectacular, emotional, poignant, moving collection of stories about love, parenting, growing up, marriage, self-awareness, empathy and she stuck a little scifi in with the title story. Squeee!!! Some of it was gut wrenching. But every story seemed highly emotionally charged.(view spoiler)[ The Future Looks Good - Powerful start. Arimah packs a lot of story into very little space. Unexpected and unique. The story takes us through the childhood and adulthood of two sisters growing up and the impact of their choices. This is a history of sibling rivalries and jealousies and coming to terms. A really moving story of family and tragically mistaken identity. Amazingly it was only 7 pages long but you come away affected. 4.5 Stars  War Story - Again unique and interesting. Arimah interrelates a father's war experience to a daughter's behavioral issues. Lots of finesse here. The war tail is sparse and targeted to a jarring effect. Again, really good. 4.5 Stars    Wild - Mother sends her daughter back to Nigeria as a fix for her behavior problems. She finds her "angelic" cousin has similar/worse issues with her Aunt. By the end of the story, she starts to view her own mother more positively and is reflecting on her own behavior. Arimah doesn't tell us this, we watch the characters grow. 4.5 Stars  Light - Short and poignant. Beautiful. A father struggles to raise his daughter and preserve her spirit (inner light) tact amid his wife (studying abroad) and her sisters insistence that she needs her mother. I am loving Arimah and her ability to convey so much with such brevity. She has snipets of the future so you know a little of the future with these characters. I think this was my favorite in the collection. 5 Stars  Second Chances - A little magical realism as a family who has lost their mother gets a second chance to spend time with her. The main character is reluctant. These are adult children who lost their mother as children. A very grown up look at parental wants and needs. Amazing 4.5 Stars Windfall - This is the story of the con. Mother and daughter that travel the country having mishaps in grocery stores and suing to survive. A bit of a tragicomedy until the end. Showcases how some people are completely hollow. Heart wrenching 4.5 Stars" Who Will Greet You at Home - Oh the imagination in this one!! Steeped in folklore and mythology (which in interview Arimah admits to making up completely), this strange tale is about a young woman's drive to have a baby and the pressures that family and society put upon her. Brilliant, quirky and impacting, this is a world that is women only. Babies are made of raw materials and blessed to life by grandmothers. Strong statements on the way we view origins and motherhood etc. 5 Stars. Buchi's Girls - Another one that tugs at the heart strings. Story of a woman w/ two daughters forced to rely on her sister and her authoritarian husband to survive. Arimah showcases the things the poor swallow in order to survive and impacts on the children. 4.5 Stars What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky - A scifi dystopian tale of the abundance of grief and how it is dealt with in a world ravaged by climate change. Very emotional, unique, unexpected and interesting. 5 Stars Glory - Story about a near-do-well faced with a decision to turn her life around not being able to control the situation before she makes a decision. Does she give up who she is to conform to norms but also a chance at her ideal of happiness or does she reject an opportunity to turn her life around but stay true to herself. Is her true "self" worth protecting or does she need to change? Open ended. 4.5 Stars What is a Volcano - Another mythology and folklore type tale. This one is about a mother's loss and a man's greed and pettiness and unwanted guilt. Weakest story in the book in my view--caveat being that there are no weak stories. It was still excellent, just not quite as straight forward as the others. 4 Stars Redemption - an interesting story about infatuation and the con. The daughter of a wealthy family becomes infatuated with the maid, Mayowa of a neighbor. They form a friendship and bond when the help plots with the maid of the daughters family to steal from the family. They are caught in after stealing and the daughter is betrayed but still wistful about the friendship and wonders why the Mayowa was compelled to betray the trust. There is a lot packed into this story: classism, betrayal, snobbery, Nigerian caste system. Arimah is brilliant in the way that she brings these things to light in very few pages. (hide spoiler)] Arimah evokes powerful feelings in this collection and has much to say about Nigerian and frankly worldwide cultural norms. She is especially effective in insightful commentary on women's issues. This is an author with a very bright future. I look forward to more from her. This was one of my favorites in 2017. 5 Stars Read on my kindle.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tori (InToriLex)

    Content Warning: Violence, Domestic Abuse, Trauma, Child Abuse I have been blessed by a master storyteller and I am grateful. There is so much beauty and hard realities in these stories. Through the use of magical realism and fantastical elements, characters inner turmoil are made physical. The characters are memorable and refreshingly flawed, so each story feels like a friend's you a secret. I enjoyed each and every story, they all held suspense, surprises and descriptions of family trauma. Content Warning: Violence, Domestic Abuse, Trauma, Child Abuse I have been blessed by a master storyteller and I am grateful. There is so much beauty and hard realities in these stories. Through the use of magical realism and fantastical elements, characters inner turmoil are made physical. The characters are memorable and refreshingly flawed, so each story feels like a friend's you a secret. I enjoyed each and every story, they all held suspense, surprises and descriptions of family trauma. In most short story collections there are some that may not be right for the reader, but I enjoyed each one in this collection. "This starts another argument between husband and wife, mild at first, but then it peppers and there us this thing that distance dies where it subtracts warmth and context and history and each finds that they're arguing with a stranger." Besides the awesome prose, imagery and realism the author's unique experience and culture was incorporated. Windfalls is a story about a mother and daughter who live off of settlements they receive from slip and fall lawsuits. The story is told from the daughter's perspective and as she grows up the ugliness of this lifestyle becomes more pronounced. What it Means When A Man Falls From the Sky is a story about how mathematicians have figured out a formula to fix the effects of trauma and grief. The results of this in a future world separated by class are not what it seems, and the story left me thinking about it for a long time. Life would be so much simpler if there was a actual fix to trauma. "Girls with fire in their bellies will be forced to drink from a well of correction till the flames die out." The theme of women and girls as autonomous and powerful despite their circumstances runs throughout these stories. The stories cross continents include future technology and incorporate African culture. I am astounded by this author's talent and will happily read anything that she creates. Recommended for Readers who - enjoy memorable short stories - like reading about diverse characters and trauma - enjoy fantasy and magical realism elements

  15. 4 out of 5

    Resh (The Book Satchel)

    I couldn't sleep until I finished the whole collection. This book is just fantastic. And I loved reading it in one night. You know the feeling when you think you need to sleep and you close the book and something whispers 'Just one more?' in your mind? Exactly! The writing is gorgeous and the stories are lovely too. Lesley has the knack of shocking the reader at the end of her realistic stories and holding the reader in a trance at the end of the few magical realism stories. This is a straight 5 I couldn't sleep until I finished the whole collection. This book is just fantastic. And I loved reading it in one night. You know the feeling when you think you need to sleep and you close the book and something whispers 'Just one more?' in your mind? Exactly! The writing is gorgeous and the stories are lovely too. Lesley has the knack of shocking the reader at the end of her realistic stories and holding the reader in a trance at the end of the few magical realism stories. This is a straight 5 STAR read for me. But I think I will wait a bit for the stories to sink in before deciding on my final rating. Because a 5 star for a short story collection is a BIG DEAL. As of now, I love the book. And I already want to re read it. Definitely a favourite for 2017. ... More to follow later.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    Another bookstagrammer, @bookisshhh, and I read this book of short stories together and shared our thoughts about the collection on her Instagram page. I am glad we chose to read it as our shared read because I would not have chosen it on my own. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky is Lesley Nneka Arimah’s debut collection and contains a varied mix of stories that generally succeed splendidly and occasionally fall short. The title story is by far the outstanding tale in the collection; I Another bookstagrammer, @bookisshhh, and I read this book of short stories together and shared our thoughts about the collection on her Instagram page. I am glad we chose to read it as our shared read because I would not have chosen it on my own. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky is Lesley Nneka Arimah’s debut collection and contains a varied mix of stories that generally succeed splendidly and occasionally fall short. The title story is by far the outstanding tale in the collection; I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I finished it I started it over again. “Wild” is the other story that stood out to me and has stayed with me long after I finished the book. This cautionary tale proves that what people want the world to believe is often drastically different than what is actually occurring in their lives. While I enjoyed most of the stories, two of them were slow enough that I ended up not finishing them. If you are on Instagram check out the fabulous post that @bookisshhh created to share our joint thoughts on the collection. I definitely recommend this book for those who enjoy short stories and uniquely told tales.

  17. 4 out of 5

    I Be Reading

    I received an advanced copy of this book because Lesley and I follow each other on Twitter (where folks know I LOVE reading) and she asked if she could send me one to get my thoughts. Now that that's out of the way, SWEET BUTTERY JESUS I WASN'T READY. I am still in my feelings about what I read and it's been over 12 hours since I finished. Although I absolutely LIVED for the forays she made into futurism, it was her brilliant writing about everyday scenarios and relationships that knocked me out. I received an advanced copy of this book because Lesley and I follow each other on Twitter (where folks know I LOVE reading) and she asked if she could send me one to get my thoughts. Now that that's out of the way, SWEET BUTTERY JESUS I WASN'T READY. I am still in my feelings about what I read and it's been over 12 hours since I finished. Although I absolutely LIVED for the forays she made into futurism, it was her brilliant writing about everyday scenarios and relationships that knocked me out. I will end here so as to avoid spoilers but listen. BUY THIS. Or borrow it. Or whatever you have to do. If you love amazing writing? You need to read this. If I could give it more than five stars, I would in a heartbeat. I attempted to name my favorites but that's pointless because they were all my favorites! Honestly can't wait to re-read it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    AMAZING.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.5* of five UPDATE 7 November 2017: This deserving collection has won a 2017 Kirkus Prize! This edition's review is coming on my blog, Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud, during Booksgiving! That's my book-gifting guide for the perplexed from 24 November to 24 December, if you're wondering. This title also appears in the semi-final round of the Goodreads Choice Awards and I strongly encourage you to vote it through to the next round! Please? Pretty please with real, delicious sugar on top?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    What the heck did I just read?! This was just about the strangest story I've ever ingested, but it was a powerful, beautiful strange. It was only 15 pages long, but the author said all she needed to say in those 15 pages. Gorgeous and deep. Consider my thoughts provoked.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Trudie

    3.5 Short stories, especially from debut authors, seem to me like an opportunity for writers to pull on different shoes and walk around in them for a while. A low risk way to play with different genres and voices without the burden of committing to an entire novel. I can see Arimah doing that in this 12 story collection. There were stories that I thought had almost N.K.Jemisinesque fantasy elements. Particularly, What it means when a man falls from the sky and What is a Volcano . The former 3.5 Short stories, especially from debut authors, seem to me like an opportunity for writers to pull on different shoes and walk around in them for a while. A low risk way to play with different genres and voices without the burden of committing to an entire novel. I can see Arimah doing that in this 12 story collection. There were stories that I thought had almost N.K.Jemisinesque fantasy elements. Particularly, What it means when a man falls from the sky and What is a Volcano . The former outlining a world in which mathematicians can cure people of sadness and Europeans are refugees in Africa. The latter seemingly a folktale but both of which I would love to see form the nexus of a great fantasy/dystopian world. The story I enjoyed most was Who will greet you at home , with the creepy hair baby still giving me cause for concern whenever I see a hair brush. The bulk of the remaining stories are what could be described as a kind of Nigerian domestic noir - tales of mothers and daughters often estranged, a pervading creeping melancholy. Some were outstanding, particularly Windfalls which also had a dark, almost horror vibe to it. I thought Arimah was on less sure footing when she covered territory that I think Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie does extraordinarily well, stories that rely heavily on character and nuanced observations. However, it's very early days and I am eager to see what this author does next.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    These are concentrated, enchanting bursts of stories - mostly about the lives of women and their daughters or mothers. Some are grounded and sharp-edged, others fabulous and whimsical. So good.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Most of these dozen stories are set in a recognizable Nigeria, with past events like the Biafran War contrasting with real and imagined future scenarios. The protagonists are generally young women poised on the brink of wildness and trying to decide between what’s sensible and what they really want from life. Three of the stories employ magic realism to infuse everyday situations with novel possibilities. There are such wonderful, natural turns of phrase throughout that the narratives rollick al Most of these dozen stories are set in a recognizable Nigeria, with past events like the Biafran War contrasting with real and imagined future scenarios. The protagonists are generally young women poised on the brink of wildness and trying to decide between what’s sensible and what they really want from life. Three of the stories employ magic realism to infuse everyday situations with novel possibilities. There are such wonderful, natural turns of phrase throughout that the narratives rollick along. Medical and food-related metaphors are particularly common. The tone is nicely balanced between playful and melancholy, and the variety in narration and setup keeps things interesting, such that you’ll likely sit down and read several stories at a time. I’d particularly recommend this to fans of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Kei Miller. I’ll be looking out eagerly for Arimah’s next book, whether it’s a novel or more short stories. See my full review at Shiny New Books.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    [6/6/19: It appears GR has combined these reviews due to removal of one of the stories as a separate GR book. The first paragraph was my review of the story "Who Will Greet You at Home" that I believe was published online before the short story collection, and the link I included was removed. The part after GR added "Merged review" is my review of the collection.] This is so fresh and inventive and ... scary. It resonates like a folk tale and reminds me of that feeling when you wake up from a ni [6/6/19: It appears GR has combined these reviews due to removal of one of the stories as a separate GR book. The first paragraph was my review of the story "Who Will Greet You at Home" that I believe was published online before the short story collection, and the link I included was removed. The part after GR added "Merged review" is my review of the collection.] This is so fresh and inventive and ... scary. It resonates like a folk tale and reminds me of that feeling when you wake up from a nightmare wondering "where the heck did that come from?" I'm definitely checking out more of her work. Merged review: This is such a special collection of stories from a unique voice that I can’t wait to read more from. Lesley Nneka Arimah writes about things we can relate to, but she shows the inside, the underside, the turned inside out side. She lures you in and then fills you with surprises. She hooked me with the first story, “The Future Looks Good,” which is an odd dance through past and present with a shocking end. The title story is a brilliant, futuristic concoction about using mathematics to take on another person’s grief. “Glory” tells of a young woman trying to please her mother, and all the interesting ways she fails while trying to decide if pleasing her is what she even wants. And of course there’s “Who Will Greet You at Home,” a wild take on preparing for motherhood that introduced me to this collection, and is still the most unique story I think I’ve ever read. “Round and round until the ball of hair became a body and nubs became arms, fingers. The strands tangled together to become nearly impenetrable. This baby would not snag and unravel. This baby would not dissolve in water or rain or in nail polish remover, as the plastic baby had that time.” Arimah does this with her stories. Round and round she weaves them until her characters come to life ... and then turn around and surprise the heck out of you.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ifeyinwa

    As Nakia said, "the first story went off like a firecracker out the gate." And, this collection of short stories ended with a bang! In this book, no two short stories are like the other in terms of plot, pace or tone. This collection is not only a testament of Lesley's writing prowess but a display of her ingenuity. Also, Lesley's writing pulled me all the way in! It said, "Girl, lean in. No, a little closer. Closer." Her words sucked me right in & made me feel everything that her characters As Nakia said, "the first story went off like a firecracker out the gate." And, this collection of short stories ended with a bang! In this book, no two short stories are like the other in terms of plot, pace or tone. This collection is not only a testament of Lesley's writing prowess but a display of her ingenuity. Also, Lesley's writing pulled me all the way in! It said, "Girl, lean in. No, a little closer. Closer." Her words sucked me right in & made me feel everything that her characters felt. Short story collections can be hard to rate but my review is really driven by the state of awe in which this book left me. I'm SO excited to see where Lesley Nneka Arimah goes from here.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Darkowaa

    !!! https://africanbookaddict.com/2017/12... 4.5 stars. This collection of stories is out of this world - literally! I really loved Arimah’s wild imagination and the finesse with which she created worlds I never knew could exist. This collection embodies how a short story collection should be: ORIGINAL, unpredictable, startling and out-of-the-box.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nakia

    More like 4.5 stars. This collection of short stories is AMAZING. The first story went off like a firecracker out of the gate, and I was glued all the way thru until the end. Lesley’s stories are simple, but also brilliant, deep, magical, and a whole lot of other good and great stuff. She gives small glimpses into Nigerian and Nigerian immigrant life, placing the ordinary in extraordinary circumstances. I loved this collection mostly because the stories are witty, and many of them have complicate More like 4.5 stars. This collection of short stories is AMAZING. The first story went off like a firecracker out of the gate, and I was glued all the way thru until the end. Lesley’s stories are simple, but also brilliant, deep, magical, and a whole lot of other good and great stuff. She gives small glimpses into Nigerian and Nigerian immigrant life, placing the ordinary in extraordinary circumstances. I loved this collection mostly because the stories are witty, and many of them have complicated, headstrong, funny female protagonists, or others who are stuck and pushing through dire circumstances with sacrifice or love for family. I can’t adequately express how much I fell in love with Lesley’s writing through these stories, other than to say that I wish there were more.

  28. 4 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    Masterpiece collection of short stories I am in awe at two things: 1. That this is a debut collection because the writing is absolutely captivating and profound. 2. That is took me two years to read this collection, I cannot stop kicking myself. What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky features 12 short stories, majority of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Each story covers various themes but at the heart of each story is the stunning writing. Relationships, immigration, mother-daughter relation Masterpiece collection of short stories I am in awe at two things: 1. That this is a debut collection because the writing is absolutely captivating and profound. 2. That is took me two years to read this collection, I cannot stop kicking myself. What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky features 12 short stories, majority of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Each story covers various themes but at the heart of each story is the stunning writing. Relationships, immigration, mother-daughter relationship, love, courtship and conflict are covered in a fresh and thought-provoking way. Arimah shows her writing range through her prose and how she is able to write in each genre. It is not everyday I pick up a collection of short stories and I love 80% of the stories. If this is Arimah's debut, I cannot wait to hear more from her. An absolute must read!

  29. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    ‘What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky’ is a wondrous collection of short stories, which take place mostly in Nigeria or Africa. The stories stunned me by their cleverness, symbolic insight and strong emotion. Yet, the writing itself is simple and direct. Lesley Nneka Arimah, the author, has a terrific talent for symbolic expression. Male readers may feel these stories are focused on a female point of view. Yes, they are. But the human universals of being poor, or being mad, of family, of ‘What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky’ is a wondrous collection of short stories, which take place mostly in Nigeria or Africa. The stories stunned me by their cleverness, symbolic insight and strong emotion. Yet, the writing itself is simple and direct. Lesley Nneka Arimah, the author, has a terrific talent for symbolic expression. Male readers may feel these stories are focused on a female point of view. Yes, they are. But the human universals of being poor, or being mad, of family, of failure and of using myth as a palliative or illustration are beyond gender. The stories in this collection are: The Future Looks Good - shocking. War Stories - a father tries to connect to and correct his young daughter, but both become lost in contemplating the application of violence. Wild - A visiting American-Nigerian teen and her cousin, a Nigerian teen, unexpectedly find the common ground for coming-of-age teenagers in parental and social boundaries. Light - a Nigerian father wants his happy unfiltered pre-teen daughter to stay unfiltered, but his wife in America, getting a business degree, knows eleven-year-olds must learn self-control and boundaries. Second Chances - mom returns by stepping out of a photo. Windfall - a mother feels her child is just an inanimate prop on the stage of mom’s life. Who Will Greet You at Home - a powerful symbolic story about motherhood, where the best supportive entitlements are awarded because of high levels of wealth, but where being a mother is undermined by desperation and lack of social opportunities. *favorite* Buchi’s Girls - the impossibility of motherhood when mothers are in impoverished servitude. What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky - a drowning flood of grief after the math equation of unifying everything in the Universe is discovered, and the failure of creating a lightness of being free of gravity. Glory - the poison of resentment. What is a Volcano - it is a god’s (view spoiler)[breasts - omg this was too good a reveal to leave out. Nigerian myth or author’s creation? idk. (hide spoiler)] Redemption - “Girls with fire in their bellies will be forced to drink from a well of correction till the flames die out.” Highly recommend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel León

    My expectations were very high for this short story collection and it didn't disappoint. Lesley Nneka Arimah is a writer I'll be watching and anxious to read again.

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