Summary and book reviews of What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

Stories

by Lesley Nneka Arimah

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah X
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2017, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2018, 240 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

THE FUTURE LOOKS GOOD

Ezinma fumbles the keys against the lock and doesn't see what came behind her: Her father as a boy when he was still tender, vying for his mother's affection. Her grandmother, overworked to the bone by the women whose houses she dusted, whose laundry she washed, whose children's asses she scrubbed clean; overworked by the bones of a husband who wanted many sons and the men she entertained to give them to him, sees her son to his thirteenth year with the perfunction of a nurse and dies in her bed with a long, weary sigh.

His stepmother regards him as one would a stray dog that comes by often enough that she knows its face, but she'll be damned if she'll let him in. They dance around each other, boy waltzing forward with want, woman pirouetting away. She grew up the eldest daughter of too many and knows how the needs of a child can drown out a girl's dreams. The boy sees only the turned back, the dismissal, and the father ignores it all...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Each story in Arimah's nuanced collection is tinged with the complexities of the human experience. The writer Junot Diaz once said that writing a short story was especially challenging because "you spend 16 years chefing in the kitchen, and all that's left is an amuse-bouche." But if the amuse-bouche is as glorious as Arimah's debut, all is forgiven. The result here is most definitely worth the labor.   (Reviewed by Poornima Apte).

Full Review (716 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

Media Reviews

Buzzfeed
A remarkable new talent.

Jezebel
I rarely find fiction so captivating, short stories so beyond impressive.

Bustle
Imaginative and mesmerizing… the women in this collection exist in an unpredictable, often dangerous world, one that is both markedly different from, yet startlingly similar to our own.

The Millions
Seamlessly blends magical realism and a kind of sci-fi, resulting in a one-of-a-kind...Brilliant.

Nylon
Ever since reading Arimah's unsettling New Yorker fiction story, in which a woman longing for a child decides to make one out of hair, I've been eagerly awaiting more of her work. Happily, this collection is finally here, and includes that incredible story and many others that are its equals.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In her powerful and incisive debut collection, Arimah shuttles between continents and realities to deliver 12 stories of loss, hope, violence, and family relationships.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. 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 ... Heralds a new voice with certain staying power.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Biafra-Britain Connection

In the titular, futuristic story from What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, there is talk of a Biafra-Britannia alliance and one character's father still holds "bitterly to the idea of Biafran independence, an independence his parents had died for in the late 2030s."

The Biafra-Britannia alliance would be an irony given that Britain sided against Biafra in the Nigerian Civil War.

BiafraNigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960. At the time, Nigeria was made up of a number of religious and tribal factions. A military coup in 1967 displaced the Nigerian head and since the ousting general was Igbo, it was widely believed that the coup originated in the Northeast, the Igbo region of Nigeria. Reciprocation against the Igbo was ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, try these:

  • All the Names They Used for God jacket

    All the Names They Used for God

    by Anjali Sachdeva

    Published 2019

    About this book

    For fans of Dave Eggers and Kelly Link, an exhilarating collection of stories that explores the mysterious, often dangerous forces that shape our lives - from censorship and terrorism to technology and online dating.

  • Under the Udala Trees jacket

    Under the Udala Trees

    by Chinelo Okparanta

    Published 2016

    About this book

    Inspired by Nigeria's folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Lost Children Archive
    Lost Children Archive
    by Valeria Luiselli
    Lost Children Archive is a feast of language and storytelling that chronicles a family road trip ...
  • Book Jacket: The World According to Fannie Davis
    The World According to Fannie Davis
    by Bridgett M. Davis
    Devoted daughter Bridgett M. Davis was always inspired by her mother Fannie, who provided stability,...
  • Book Jacket: Territory of Light
    Territory of Light
    by Yuko Tsushima
    Set in Tokyo during the late 1970s, Yūko Tsushima's Territory of Light chronicles a year in the...
  • Book Jacket: Unmarriageable
    Unmarriageable
    by Soniah Kamal
    Soniah Kamal makes no secret of the fact that her novel Unmarriageable is a retelling of Jane Austen...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Half-Life of Everything
by Deborah Carol Gang

A beautifully written and uplifting debut novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Man
    by Jane Harper

    A stunning standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Romantics
    by Tara Conklin

    A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, and the ties that bind us together.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Climate Report

The Climate Report

"The most comprehensive assessment of the effects of climate change on the United States."
–The New York Times

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

B I I T Eye O T B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.