Normally, I don’t like feeling like I’ve been tricked. I’m not a fan of pranks, and surprises give me anxiety. But I loved this pleasant surprise. With the first few stories of this collection you think you’re getting a whole bunch of normal literary fiction. The surprise is that some of these beautiful stories are actually beautifully bizarre. I hate to admit that I don’t read enough authors that are outside of the reading box I have put myself into. But after reading What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, I will have to do it more often.
When something beautifully unique and weird comes along, it needs to be given notice. In a world filled with typical novels and stories that are based on other stories it’s refreshing to read something that doesn’t feel like it’s something you’ve read before. Every story in this collection is like that and you’ll be filled with curiosity about the outcome.
You’ll read stories that could happen to anyone and stories that are a little unsettling, because of the seemingly normal nature that the strangeness is presented in. But that’s a huge part of the beauty of this collection of stories. It makes you think without making it feel like a chore, and you’ll reflect back on it feeling completely satisfied.
You’ll read a tale of a mother who is just trying to raise her two daughters as best she can. Throw in the fact that she’s a widower, and that she now has to live with her materialistic sister, and her jerk husband with their spoiled children, where she’s treated like a maid instead of a house guest. This pushes her to make decisions that no one would want to put in, but are almost necessary as the woman in her shoes.
One of the weirder stories is set in a universe where women build their own children. You heard me right. Some women make their children out of mud, and if you’re really fancy you could even make your child porcelain (but that’s top of the line). Now I know making a child in this manner sounds difficult. But the truly difficult part is making sure it survives the year… then it will become a real child. The main character in this short story has tried many different children, but has been unsuccessful. But this child she makes out of hair will certainly be different. It has to be, right?
There’s a future where humans don’t really pain or emotion. And there’s a coming of age tale about an African teenager visiting her aunt and cousin in America. And there’s still so many other stories you will read that will shock and surprise you. I haven’t even made a dent in all the wonderous adventures you will encounter.
— Melissa Lojo, Master Bookseller