Happiness, Like Water

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Aug 13, 2013 - Fiction - 210 pages
5 Reviews
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Winner of the O. Henry Award. “A haunting and startlingly original collection of short stories about the lives of Nigerians both at home and in America.”—Julie Otsuka, national bestselling author
Here are Nigerian women at home and transplanted to the United States, building lives out of longing and hope, faith and doubt, the struggle to stay and the mandate to leave, the burden and strength of love. Here are characters faced with dangerous decisions, children slick with oil from the river, a woman in love with another despite the penalties. Here is a world marked by electricity outages, lush landscapes, folktales, buses that break down and never start up again. Here is a portrait of Nigerians that is surprising, shocking, heartrending, loving, and across social strata, dealing in every kind of change. Here are stories filled with language to make your eyes pause and your throat catch. Happiness, Like Water introduces a true talent, a young writer with a beautiful heart and a capacious imagination.

“Astonishing. Okparanta’s narrators render their stories with such strength and intimacy, such lucidity and composure, that in each and every case the truths of their lives detonate deep inside the reader’s heart, with the power and force of revelation."—Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

“Intricate, graceful prose propels Okparanta’s profoundly moving and illuminating book. I devoured these stories and immediately wanted more. This is an arrival.”—NoViolet Bulawayo, award-winning author of We Need New Names

“Okparanta’s prose is tender, beautiful and evocative. These powerful stories of contemporary Nigeria are told with compassion and a certain sense of humor. What a remarkable new talent.”—Chika Unigwe, author of Night Dancer

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KarlBunker - LibraryThing

Yes, the stories in this collection give me a window into a culture different from my own, and that's a nice thing for a piece of fiction to do. But it isn't enough to make for excellent literature or ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bookmuse56 - LibraryThing

If Okparanta’s exquisitely written debut short story collection has a theme – it is about mothers and how their hopes and dreams affect their daughters struggle for their own hope and dreams. I found ... Read full review

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About the author (2013)

Chinelo Okparanta was born in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria. A Colgate University Olive B. O'Connor Fellow in Fiction as well as a recipient of the University of Iowa's Provost's Postgraduate Fellowship in Fiction, Okparanta received her BS from The Pennsylvania State University, her MA from Rutgers University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was one of Granta's six New Voices for 2012 and her stories have appeared in Granta, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Her story "America" was short-listed for the Caine Prize in African Writing.

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