With her focus on complex and often tragically damaged parent/daughter relationships, Arimah delivers a collection of stories with as much emotional punch as careful attention to language and structure. Her penchant for circular structures especially gives her stories' most brutal moments a crushing inevitability that explores the many ways our past will always collide with our future--whether due to our own actions or those of our forebears.
“Intense, haunting, and exquisitely rendered, the stories in Lesley Nneka Arimah's debut collection exist in a category of their own. They are individual worlds linked together by familiar themes - self-discovery, yearnings to love and be loved, generational divides, and the meanings of home and place - refashioned in a fresh, new light. Arimah shines in this debut, whose magic will surely live with you beyond the final page. Absolutely stunning.”
— Purvis Cornish (W), Square Books, Oxford, MS
A NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION "5 UNDER 35" HONOREE WINNER OF THE 2017 KIRKUS PRIZE Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Southern Living, The Root, The Guardian, Bustle, Thrillist, and Publisher's Weekly
A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home. In "Who Will Greet You at Home," a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In "Wild," a disastrous night out shifts a teenager and her Nigerian cousin onto uneasy common ground. In "The Future Looks Good," three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war, while in "Light," a father struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And in the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to "fix the equation of a person" - with rippling, unforeseen repercussions. Evocative, playful, subversive, and incredibly human, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky heralds the arrival of a prodigious talent with a remarkable career ahead of her.
About the Author
Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria, sometimes not. Her work has received numerous grants and awards, including the 2015 African Commonwealth Prize and an O. Henry Award, and a story published in the New Yorker last year was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She lives in Minneapolis.