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Say You're One of Them

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Say You're One of Them Cover

ISBN13: 9780316113786
ISBN10: 0316113786
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Uwem Akpan's stunning stories humanize the perils of poverty and violence so piercingly that few readers 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 can't be granted. 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.

In the second of his stories published in a New Yorker special fiction issue, Akpan takes us far beyond what we thought we knew about the tribal conflict in Rwanda. The story is told by a young girl, who, with her little brother, witnesses the worst possible scenario between parents. They are asked to do the previously unimaginable in order to protect their children. This singular collection will also take the reader inside Nigeria, Benin, and Ethiopia, revealing in beautiful prose the harsh consequences for children of life in Africa.

Akpan's voice is a literary miracle, rendering lives of almost unimaginable deprivation and terror into stories that are nothing short of transcendent.

Review:

"Nigerian-born Jesuit priest Akpan transports the reader into gritty scenes of chaos and fear in his rich debut collection of five long stories set in war-torn Africa. 'An Ex-mas Feast' tells the heartbreaking story of eight-year-old Jigana, a Kenyan boy whose 12-year-old sister, Maisha, works as a prostitute to support her family. Jigana's mother quells the children's hunger by having them sniff glue while they wait for Maisha to earn enough to bring home a holiday meal. In 'Luxurious Hearses,' Jubril, a teenage Muslim, flees the violence in northern Nigeria. Attacked by his own Muslim neighbors, his only way out is on a bus transporting Christians to the south. In 'Fattening for Gabon,' 10-year-old Kotchikpa and his younger sister are sent by their sick parents to live with their uncle, Fofo Kpee, who in turn explains to the children that they are going to live with their prosperous 'godparents,' who, as Kotchikpa pieces together, are actually human traffickers. Akpan's prose is beautiful and his stories are insightful and revealing, made even more harrowing because all the horror — and there is much — is seen through the eyes of children." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

The parents in Uwem Akpan's first collection of stories, set in present-day Africa, make sacrifices and deals that might seem unimaginable to readers in other parts of the world. After finishing this book, I wandered for days staring at my three daughters and countless nephews and nieces, seeing how fragile and dangerous their lives could easily become in a time of war, starvation and betrayal.

... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Haunting prose. Unrelenting horror. An almost unreadable must-read." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Review:

"[A] startling debut collection....[Akpan] fuses a knowledge of African poverty and strife with a conspicuously literary approach to storytelling, filtering tales of horror through the wide eyes of the young." Janet Maslin, New York Times

Review:

"All the promise and heartbreak of Africa today are brilliantly illuminated in this debut collection." Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Review:

"African writer and Jesuit priest Uwem Akpan depicts the plight of African children with the kind of restraint only possible when an author fully inhabits his characters — he manages to be empathetic without being condescending." The Village Voice

About the Author

Uwem Akpan was born in a village in Nigeria and currently teaches in Zimbabwe. After studying philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of East Africa. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. "My Parents' Bedroom," a story included in this, his first collection, was one of five short stories by African writers chosen as finalists for The Caine Prize for African Writing.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Ronald Taylor, March 30, 2009 (view all comments by Ronald Taylor)
Akpan's debut is a heartbreaking work. It doesn't conform to sentimentality nor stereotype. At the same time, it presents three-dimensional characters and a fullness in all of its five stories. Whenever I hear anyone disparage short story collections -- especially by first-time authors -- as being banal, uninteresting and of little importance, Say You're One of Them will be my convincing evidence to the contrary.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316113786
Author:
Akpan, Uwem
Publisher:
Little Brown and Company
Subject:
Children
Subject:
Africa
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Children -- Africa.
Subject:
Short stories
Copyright:
Publication Date:
June 2008
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
358
Dimensions:
8.58x5.75x1.18 in. 1.07 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Say You're One of Them Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.75 In Stock
Product details 358 pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316113786 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Nigerian-born Jesuit priest Akpan transports the reader into gritty scenes of chaos and fear in his rich debut collection of five long stories set in war-torn Africa. 'An Ex-mas Feast' tells the heartbreaking story of eight-year-old Jigana, a Kenyan boy whose 12-year-old sister, Maisha, works as a prostitute to support her family. Jigana's mother quells the children's hunger by having them sniff glue while they wait for Maisha to earn enough to bring home a holiday meal. In 'Luxurious Hearses,' Jubril, a teenage Muslim, flees the violence in northern Nigeria. Attacked by his own Muslim neighbors, his only way out is on a bus transporting Christians to the south. In 'Fattening for Gabon,' 10-year-old Kotchikpa and his younger sister are sent by their sick parents to live with their uncle, Fofo Kpee, who in turn explains to the children that they are going to live with their prosperous 'godparents,' who, as Kotchikpa pieces together, are actually human traffickers. Akpan's prose is beautiful and his stories are insightful and revealing, made even more harrowing because all the horror — and there is much — is seen through the eyes of children." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Haunting prose. Unrelenting horror. An almost unreadable must-read."
"Review" by , "[A] startling debut collection....[Akpan] fuses a knowledge of African poverty and strife with a conspicuously literary approach to storytelling, filtering tales of horror through the wide eyes of the young."
"Review" by , "All the promise and heartbreak of Africa today are brilliantly illuminated in this debut collection."
"Review" by , "African writer and Jesuit priest Uwem Akpan depicts the plight of African children with the kind of restraint only possible when an author fully inhabits his characters — he manages to be empathetic without being condescending."
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