Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The first story is very dramatic. There is a violent riot going on in the streets. People are forcing themselves into the homes of people who are not of their tribe. A frightened mother warns her daughter to "say you're one of them." These words she hopes will keep the older daughter and baby boy safe from killers. I won't tell the whole story. It is dramatic, realistic and haunting. Before I read the story the words SAY YOU'RE ONE OF THEM" felt so personal and urgent. I had to read or hear the book.
In the last story two words stayed with me. A father explains to his daughter it is a matter of "faith differences." Of course, this only makes the girl feel more confused than ever about the shoulds and should nots when picking a friend.
I was surprised to learn that UWEM AKPAN did not dream about being an author his whole life. In the interview I discovered his writing happened by accident, not a planned event. He seems like a gentle and easy man. One who is willing to share his love of story telling. I hope to see his name on a novel or another anthology very, very soon. Although, he does not hesitate to tell the interviewer thinking over and planning these stories took years. I know he will appear again with magical, breathtaking words to share with readers.
I especially became interested as UKEM AKPAN talked about researching facts. I laughed a little bit when he asked the interviewer this question. How would New Yorkers and other Americans feel if I wrote that there were bungalows in Manhattan? Silly? Exactly. Maddening? Yes. UWEM AKPAN wants to have a deep knowledge about what he writes for readers to read.
I am very glad Oprah chose this book as her Book Club choice. For me, it will remain a memorable choice.