A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind mothers and daughters and men and women to one another and to the places they call home.
Lesley Arimah emigrated from Nigeria to Louisiana at the age of thirteen, a disorienting transition that left her keenly attuned to the shock waves set in motion by displacement. In these twelve powerful stories that embrace magical-realist elements while deploying a powerfully empathetic understanding of character and circumstance, she explores how parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends, navigate conflicting cultures and struggle to reconcile conflicting desires, wants, and needs.
In “The Future Looks Good,” three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war. In “Second Chances,” a daughter greets her mother's return from the dead with disbelief and anger. “Wild” revolves 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. A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results, in “Who Will Greet You at Home.” In “Light,” a father grapples—movingly and humorously—with how best to raise, protect, and empower his young daughter. And in the title story, a world ravaged by flood, filled with refugees, and carved by class, a formula has been discovered that allows experts to “fix the equation of a person”—with rippling, unforeseen repercussions.
Evocative, playful, defiant, 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.
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