Uwem Akpan’s stunning stories humanize the perils of poverty
and violence so piercingly that few listeners will feel they’ve ever
encountered Africa so immediately.
The eight year old narrator of “An Ex-Mas Feast” needs only
enough money to buy books and pay fees in order to attend school. Even when his
twelve-year-old sister takes to the streets to raise these meager funds, his
dream cannot be granted, because food comes first. His family lives in a street shanty
in Nairobi, Kenya, but their way of both loving and taking advantage
of each other strikes a universal chord.
Akpan’s voice is a literary miracle, rendering lives of
almost unimaginable deprivation and terror into stories that are nothing short
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