someone birthed them broken
by Ama Asantewa Diaka
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Pub Date 02 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 28 May 2024
“Delightfully assertive, subversive and vibrant... an original voice.” ––Imbolo Mbue, author of the New York Times bestseller and PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction winner Behold the Dreamers
A visceral and candid portrait of today’s Ghanaian youth, told in interconnected short stories by acclaimed spoken-word artist and author of the poetry collection Woman, Eat Me Whole Ama Asantewa Diaka.
In this startling collection of short fiction, Ama Asantewa Diaka creates a vibrant portrait of young Ghanaians’ today, captured in the experiences of characters whose lives bump against one other in friendship, passion, hope, and heartache. Men like Opoku Sr., not yet forty and struggling to keep his family’s cocoa business afloat after his father’s unexpected passing. Opoku strains under the burden of caring for his eight younger siblings and the child whose mother ran off. When his new girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant, he knows he has nothing left to give.
Years later, that girlfriend’s son, Opoku Jr., now faces his own troubles, including his girlfriend Boatemaa, who (correctly) suspects he is sneaking around, and Amoafoa, the woman he’s seeing on the side. And there is John, who confides to his crush Baaba about a surprising encounter with a male friend over a game of FIFA; Baaba, who falls into a whirlwind romance with her professor that ends in violence; and their friend Ayeley, who is learning to accept pleasure after being raised to believe it is sinful.
Diaka charts this constellation of interconnected lives in thirteen stories, exploring themes which run through the collection like a current: corruption and economic hardship, trauma and infidelity, shame, neglect, and the tribulations of the female body. In telling their stories, Diaka illuminates hope, freedom, and triumph that can be found in the everyday—the bonds between women, the joys of love and sex and art and dancing, the possibility of repair and redemption.
Renowned for her spoken word artistry, Ama Asantewa Diaka demonstrates her lyrical brilliance in this emotionally rich work that unveils profound truths about her country, its inhabitants, and the universality of human experience.