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Walking on Cowrie Shells: Stories

Walking on Cowrie Shells: Stories cover

Walking on Cowrie Shells: Stories

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A “boisterous and high-spirited debut” (Kirkus starred review)“that enthralls the reader through their every twist and turn” (Publishers Weekly starred review), named one of the Most Anticipated Books for Brittle Paper, The Millions, and The Rumpus, penned by a finalist for the AKO Caine Prize


In her powerful, genre-bending debut story collection, Nana Nkweti’s virtuosity is on full display as she mixes deft realism with clever inversions of genre. In the Caine Prize finalist story “It Takes a Village, Some Say,” Nkweti skewers racial prejudice and the practice of international adoption, delivering a sly tale about a teenage girl who leverages her adoptive parents to fast-track her fortunes. In “The Devil Is a Liar,” a pregnant pastor’s wife struggles with the collision of western Christianity and her mother’s traditional Cameroonian belief system as she worries about her unborn child.


In other stories, Nkweti vaults past realism, upending genre expectations in a satirical romp about a jaded PR professional trying to spin a zombie outbreak in West Africa, and in a mermaid tale about a Mami Wata who forgoes her power by remaining faithful to a fisherman she loves. In between these two ends of the spectrum there’s everything from an aspiring graphic novelist at a comic con to a murder investigation driven by statistics to a story organized by the changing hairstyles of the main character.


Pulling from mystery, horror, realism, myth, and graphic novels, Nkweti showcases the complexity and vibrance of characters whose lives span Cameroonian and American cultures. A dazzling, inventive debut, Walking on Cowrie Shells announces the arrival of a superlative new voice.

Nana Nkweti is a Caine Prize finalist and alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has garnered fellowships from MacDowell, Kimbilio, Ucross, and the Wurlitzer Foundation, among others. She is a professor of English at the University of Alabama.

ISBN: 9781644450543

ISBN-10: 9781644450543

Publisher: Graywolf Press

Publication Date: 06/01/2021 - 12:00am

On Sale: 06/01/2021 - 12:00am

Pages: 176

Language: English

Categories

Fiction / Literary