Happiness, Like Water

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Aug 13, 2013 - Fiction - 224 pages
"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

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.

"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

"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

"A haunting and startlingly original collection of short stories about the lives of Nigerians both at home and in America. Happiness, Like Water is a deeply affecting literary debut, the work of a sure and gifted new writer."—Julie Otsuka
 

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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

Contents

On Ohaeto Street
1
Wahala
21
Fairness
35
Story Story
47
Runs Girl
67
America
85
Shelter
109
Grace
123
Designs
153
Tumours and Butterflies
169
Back Matter
199
Back Cover
201
Spine
202
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

One of Granta’s six New Voices for 2012, CHINELO OKPARANTA grew up a Jehovah’s Witness. She lived in Nigeria until the age of ten, when her family came to the United States. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has also taught middle school, high school, and college. 

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