What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky.
Booklist Reviews 2017 March #2
*Starred Review* Arimah, a young writer of the UK, Nigeria, and the U.S., debuts with a slender yet mighty short story collection that delivers one head-snapping smack after another. Arimah's potently concentrated portrayals of young women who can't stop themselves from doing the wrong thing, especially by refusing to adhere to traditional Nigerian expectations for females to be obedient and self-sacrificing, possess tremendous psychological and social depth and resonance. Like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she writes with subtlety and poignancy about the struggles of love and hope between daughters and mothers and fathers, including relationships complicated by the legacy of the Biafran War, class divides, and transatlantic separations, as in "Wild," in which an in-trouble American teen is sent to live with her aunt in Lagos. Arimah's emotional and cultural precision and authenticity undergird her most imaginative leaps. She flirts with horror fiction, presents a ghost story, and creates an arresting form of magic realism in sync with that of Shirley Jackson, George Saunders, and Colson Whitehead. Babies are made of yarn, hair, and mud. In the title story, "Mathematicians" devote themselves to "calculating and subtracting emotions, drawing them from living bodies like poison from a wound." Arimah's stories of loss, grief, shame, fury, and love are stingingly fresh and complexly affecting. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2016 December #1
Arimah won the 2015 African Commonwealth Prize for the Granta-published "Light," was a finalist for the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing for the title story, and was a National Magazine Award finalist for a New Yorker story that sent the publisher scurrying after her. All of which recommends this debut collection, which deals with relationships complicated by cultural conflict—something the Nigerian-born Arimah, who came to America at age 13, can talk about acutely.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.
LJ Reviews 2017 May #1
Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
PW Reviews 2017 February #4
In her powerful and incisive debut collection, Arimah shuttles between continents and realities to deliver 12 stories of loss, hope, violence, and family relationships. In "Wild," a reckless teenage girl is sent from America to her aunt in Nigeria, only to get caught up in the life of her equally reckless cousin. "Second Chances" sees a deceased mother magically reappear in her family's life, with mixed results, and "Buchi's Girls" is about a widow struggling to raise two daughters while living in her sister's house. Mother and daughter grifters deal with an unexpected pregnancy in "Windfalls," while the collection's futuristic title story explores a world in which mathematicians have unlocked the secrets to all humanity, allowing humans to remove emotional pain from others and disrupt the laws of nature. Arimah gracefully inserts moments of levity into each tale and creates complex characters who are easy to both admire and despise. From the chilling opening story, "The Future Looks Good," structured like a Russian nesting doll, to the closing story, "Redemption," this collection electrifies.