A Life Elsewhere
An impressive debut collection of 17 short stories from the winner of the 2005 Caine Prize for African Writing
For the characters in Segun Afolabi's debut collection, "elsewhere" is a place they must transform into home. The Far East, Europe, the Americas, Africa--the stories are as varied as their geographical settings. In the award-winning "Monday Morning" a refugee boy puzzles out his place in a new land. A bereaved father in "Arithmetic" thinks back to a confusing, youthful sexual encounter that has left him emotionally scarred; Jacinta faces a long retirement with a husband she is not sure she likes in "Jumbo and Jacinta" and "The Wine Guitar" tells the story of an aging musician who pays a prostitute for the gift of her youth. These are tales of Diaspora, of people making their lives in new lands, some for the first time, others in the second or third generations. Often moving, sometimes funny, and occasionally shocking, Afolabi's stories reflect the way we live now; exploring the universal need to establish family and identity in a world where the boundaries of geography, culture, and language are increasingly fluid. Afolabi's elegantly restrained prose and his fascination with the internal emotional lives of his characters--the often painful negotiation of relationships and navigation of life's uncertainties--mark him as a highly original and engaging new literary voice.
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