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Say You're One of Them

Author: Akpan, Uwem Set In . . .
 Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Benin
Genre: Short Stories
Time Frame: Various
Published: 2008
Description: Uwem Akpan's first published short story, "An Ex-mas Feast," appeared in The New Yorker's Debut Fiction issue in 2005. The story's portrait of a family living together in a makeshift shanty in urban Kenya, and their attempts to find gifts of any kind for the impending Christmas holiday, gives a matter-of-fact reality to the most extreme circumstances--and signaled the arrival of a breathtakingly talented writer.

"My Parents' Bedroom" is a Rwandan girl's account of her family's struggles to maintain a facade of normalcy amid unspeakable acts. In "Fat­tening for Gabon," a brother and sister cope with their uncle's attempt to sell them into slavery. "Luxurious Hearses" creates a microcosm of Africa within a busload of refugees and introduces us to a Muslim boy who summons his faith to bear a treacherous ride through Nigeria. "What Language Is That?" reveals the emotional toll of the Christian-Muslim conflict in Ethiopia through the eyes of childhood friends. Every story is a testament to the wisdom and resilience of children, even in the face of the most agonizing situations our planet can offer.
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