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218 pages, Hardcover
First published June 23, 2008
She could not tell his age from his face; it was pleasant but unformed, as though God, having created him, had slapped him flat against a wall and smeared his features all over his face.
The first thing that came to Ujunwa's mind was to ask if Isabel ever needed royal blood to explain the good looks of friends back in London.Look, I'm fully committed to rooting for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie until the Nobel Prize for Lit committee gets their collective head out of their collective ass and gives it to her (spare me the political yibble yabble. My knowing what's up hasn't killed my excitement yet, so leave me this and go ruin Santa Clause or US democracy or something of that level of fantasy for someone else), so if you're looking for an introduction to an introduction to this writer, look elsewhere. The half star up there is in context with Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah, not the entirety of what I've read thus far, simply because the latter would be extremely unfair to the rest of said works. Only my absolute faves and a few superb fives à la Almanac of the Dead and The Guest would survive. Maybe.
We are the educated ones, taught to keep tightly rigid our boundaries of what is considered real.This is the work whose inclusion in the reading itinerary of a particular Postcolonial Short Story class convinced me to take said class. Was it worth it? Looking back, I'd say it did a good job of kicking my ass into high gear in both the Postcolonial, a previously dabbling breed of lack of commitment, and the short story, whose unnerving brevity now has a counterbalancing of a multifarious and sometimes delightful history. In terms of the by rote stuff, I learned the PoCo is more often than not PoMo, the PoMo in a short story cycle SSC is a marvel to behold, and genre stories written in unfamiliar environments are actually quite nice when the author isn't a fetishist with a dictionary looking for that next cash cow. Sure, the nonfetishist author may also be looking for that next cash cow, but the thing about capitalism is you can't expect a cookie everytime you mock the aspects that you personally don't adhere to body and soul. Postcolonial works written by those equipped with an inheritance of the economic type seems a bit of an oxymoron, yes? Bit self-defeating? I work only with the margin that's centered enough to reach my gaze, but if every transitory beckoning every so often reaches the quality of Adichie, I can work with that.
Grace would ponder this story for a long time, with great sadness, and it would cause her to make a clear link between education and dignity, between the hard, obvious things that are printed in books and the soft, subtle things that lodge themselves into the soul.I feel the need to include the standard short story run down for the first time for whatever reason, so here goes, complete with quotes around the ones the class chose to peruse: