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
  • Published:
    Apr 2017, 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 Members Only (716 words).

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 ...

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:

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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

"Electrifying . . . as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set."
—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.