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Publisher's Summary

Uwem Akpan's stunning stories humanize the perils of poverty and violence so piercingly that few listeners will feel they've ever encountered Africa so immediately.

The eight-year-old narrator of "An Ex-Mas Feast" needs only enough money to buy books and pay fees in order to attend school. Even when his 12-year-old sister takes to the streets to raise these meager funds, his dream can't be granted. Food comes first. His family lives in a street shanty in Nairobi, Kenya, but their way of both loving and taking advantage of each other strikes a universal chord.

In the second of his stories published in a New Yorker special fiction issue, Akpan takes us far beyond what we thought we knew about the tribal conflict in Rwanda. The story is told by a young girl, who, with her little brother, witnesses the worst possible scenario between parents. They are asked to do the previously unimaginable in order to protect their children.

This singular collection will also take the reader inside Nigeria, Benin, and Ethiopia, revealing in beautiful prose the harsh consequences for children of life in Africa.

Akpan's voice is a literary miracle, rendering lives of almost unimaginable deprivation and terror into stories that are nothing short of transcendent.

Please note: This collection features three of the five stories in Uwem Akpan's book. The other two stories are Luxurious Hearses and Fattening for Gabon. The complete unabridged edition, featuring all five stories, is available here.
©2008 Uwem Akpan; (P)2008 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"All the promise and heartbreak of Africa today are brilliantly illuminated in this debut collection." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Roy
  • Beaumont, TX, United States
  • 08-13-09

Beautiful Disturbing Prose

Uwem Akpan writes in dialect and the Audible reading is exceptional as the reader is taken into the African world through short stories. Muslim violence in Northern Nigeria is related in a most compelling way. The most powerful story concerns the killing of a mother in front of her only child - who relates the story.

Anyone with an interest in Africa, good story telling, or the plight of children will benefit by these stories. Those just interested in great prose will not be disappointed either.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

But it is an abridged version

This is an incredible book in every way, but be sure to note that this audible download, disappointingly, is "Unabridged Selections" and not the entire book. Apparently, an audio version of the entire book is not available at the time I am writing this.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Terry
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 01-28-10

Great Stories of Africa

I thought these stories were fantastic - I cannot understand the 2 negative reviews. The readers so a fabulous job. The only negative for me is that when I bought and listened to this audiobook in Q4'09, there were 2 stories that were missing! Audible says that we'll be notified when the 2 additional stories are available in audio format, but it's been months and I've heard nothing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Lovely Prose/Heartwrenching Stories

Only regret is that there are only 3 of the 5 stories from the actual book. Please come out with an unabridged full version!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sarah
  • Frederick, MD, USA
  • 09-22-09

I still give it 5 stars

Even though there are only 3 of the 5 stories, I'll give it 5 stars.
What hauntingly, distrubing and vivid stories. I stood there listening to the 2nd one unable to move. I do hope that I'll be able to get the othere 2 stories at some point.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lorilie
  • Leesburg, VA, USA
  • 10-30-09


This was wonderful. Wish all 5 stories were in there.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Yvette
  • the woodlands, TX, USA
  • 11-04-09

Don't waste your time

could not even finish. I was on the third story and booooo.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful