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)
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.
In this mesmerising and luminous collection, Arimah reimagines a world that is and imagines it as it could be, probing always at the heart of what it means to be human — Ayobami Adebayo, author of STAY WITH ME
This is an extraordinary short story collection exploring pain, difficult lives and wanting things which remain out of reach.... shows that talented authors don't need hundreds of pages to create rich, deeply emotional, captivating stories. — Stylist
Each of the tales here are tightly, complexly woven... And although so many of the characters we meet are stricken by some sort of grief - from death, displacement, disillusionment - there's no lack of emotional warmth, and even the occasional flash of dark humour. This is a collection which proves Arimah as a master storyteller — Independent
[A] playful and adventurous new talent... here is a debut writer showing serious range... the collection offers a rare combination of daring and nuance — Guardian
Dazzling collection of sly, subversive stories... brilliant — Daily Mail
She is conducting adventures in narrative on her own terms, keeping her streak of light, that bright ember, burning fiercely undimmed — Marina Warner, New York Times Book Review
The hilarious and the heartbreaking stand shoulder to shoulder in What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky. Some stories are fantastical and others are grounded in the day to day, but each reveals something of what it means to be alive. Lesley Nneka Arimah describes the darkest corners of the human heart with such flourish that each story is a delight — Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of HARMLESS LIKE YOU
With her luminous debut collection, What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, Lesley Nneka Arimah marks her richly deserved place in contemporary fiction. 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 — Roxane Gay, author of DIFFICULT WOMEN
In these gorgeous stories, Leslie Nneka Arimah dreams a world. These tales cut like razors, charm like poetry, and heal like love. International in scope, but deeply personal, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky marks the arrival of a stunning new voice — Tayari Jones, author of SILVER SPARROW
An impressive showcase of her talent ... Arimah's voice is vibrant and fresh, her topics equally timely and timeless ...This is a slim, rare volume that left me compelled to press it into the hands of friends, saying, 'You must read this' — Washington Post
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 — Claire Vaye Watkins, author of BATTLEBORN and GOLD FAME CITRUS
Though the stories are intense and unforgettable, they are offset by dazzling wit, playfulness, and imagination, making What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky a joy to read. Do not hesitate to pick up this collection — BuzzFeed
Arimah has skill in abundance: the stories here are solid and impeccably crafted and strike at the heart of the most complicated of human relationships ... [This book] heralds a new voice with certain staying power — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review