Short stories at their most heart-stopping, varied and accessible; the debut collection from prize-winning Nigerian author Lesley Nneka Arimah.
'Remarkable range and exquisite prose' Ayobami Adebayo, Guardian Books of the Year
A stunning collection of short stories from Caine-Prize shortlisted and Commonwealth Writer's Prize winner Lesley Nneka Arimah, WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY has been described as 'luminous' (Roxane Gay), 'mesmeric' (Claire Vaye Watkins) and 'hilarious and heartbreaking' (Rowan Hisayo Buchanan). Shot through with magic and a powerful sense of yearning, this is a diverse and dazzling collection that showcases the work of a major new talent at the beginning of a stellar literary career.
'When Enebeli Okwara sent his girl out in the world, he did not know what the world did to daughters'. The daughters, wives and mothers in Lesley Nneka Arimah's remarkable debut collection find themselves in extraordinary situations: a woman whose mother's ghost appears to have stepped out of a family snapshot, another who, exhausted by childlessness, resorts to fashioning a charmed infant out of human hair, a 'grief worker' with a miraculous ability to remove emotional pain - at a price. What unites them is the toughness of the world they inhabit, a world where the future is uncertain, opportunities are scant, and fortunes change quicker than the flick of a switch. Characterised by their vividness, immediacy and the author's seemingly endless ability to conjure worlds at once familiar and unsettlingly different, this is a remarkable debut from a 'master storyteller' (Independent)
At the centre 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
The hilarious and the heartbreaking stand shoulder to shoulder in WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY... Lesley Nneka Arimah describes the darkest corners of the human heart with such flourish that each story is a delight
Arimah's magic realism owes something to Ben Okri... her science fiction parables recall those of Margaret Atwood... She is conducting adventures in narrative on her own terms, keeping her streak of light, that bright ember, burning fiercely undimmed - New York Times Book Review
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky is a striking collection that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand at attention and your heart gasp in admiration. Arimah's stories are intense, mesmeric, and nothing short of stunning
How does she make these stories so distilled and spacious at the same time? They are drained of excess but still expand so fearlessly. A remarkable debut, from a writer I'm sure we'll be reading for years to come.
Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria, sometimes not. She has been published in The New Yorker and Granta, her story 'Light' was winner of the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa, and she has twice been shortlisted for the Caine Prize (2016 and 2017) with stories from WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY.