Cover Image: The Newlyweds’ Window

The Newlyweds’ Window

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Member Reviews

The Newlywed’s Window is a short-story collection set in various countries on the African continent and features a variety of characters subjected to experiences ranging from admirable quests for a better or different life than what society demands for them to paranormal situations (often rooted in African myth and folklore - curses, malevolent spirits, and witches are mentioned).  The narrator’s points of view range from children, adults, the elderly and even insights/observations of a demented predator/stalker. 

While I didn’t understand some of the terms used in the stories, I believe I deduced the meaning(s) accurately.  Although set on a different continent than my own, there were very relatable, familiar themes and topics within stories involving the mindset of a serial killer, a young girl’s ill-fated foray on social media, a blind mother’s discovery of her son’s truth via the lens of her grandson, a young mother in labor hints at the inequities and tragic ordeals of underprivileged birthing mothers in sub-par health care facilities, etc.   

There is a bit of something for everyone in this anthology:  speculative fiction, mystery/suspense, social commentary, coming-of-age stories, family relationships (good and bad), and glimpses of culture and tradition in various communities.
 
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an opportunity to review.
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I was hoping to pull some excerpts for my 14-year-old students, but they just aren’t the target audience. My demographic, however, must be the target. The selections were well curated and thoughtful additions. They were almost universally engaging. I’m not even sorry that this didn’t work for my students because I loved it so much for myself!
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The Newlywed’s Window is an entertaining and thought-provoking collection of short stories, stories written by some of Africa’s most talented, and undiscovered, writers. I really liked the variety of the stories found within this collection; there are so many genres included, as well as many unique perspectives about life–its difficulties and hurdles but also its triumphs and achievements. While I enjoyed many of the stories found within this collection, my favorites were Black Paw Paw by Obinna Ezeodili, The Daya Zimu by Vanessa Nakayange and Old Photograph by Hannah Onoguwe. I enjoyed discovering the similarities between the characters and their lives and homes with my own, but I also loved the distinctness and the unique beauty that comes with the differences.
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This is an anthology of short stories from African writers. I've been making a point to expand my reading horizons, and what I loved about this anthology is that about half the writers are making their writing debut.

This was a great set of stories! There was only one that just didn't hold my interest, but the others were a really great quality. Several of the stories have some kind of mystical/fantastical element, but mostly they're just stories about people going about their days. Our Girl Bimpe by Olakunle Ologunro will feel very familiar to many of us, detailing a story of internet bullying and rape. Gasping for Air by Ogechukwu Emmanuel Samuel is just downright creepy, telling the story of a serial killer in love with his intended victim. I also really liked A Letter from Ireland by Victor Ehikhamenor, about a young man in a remote village not understanding why his uncle chooses to live in Ireland with a young priest instead of coming home to get married.

I know this anthology is available now, and would recommend getting it. It's not a large book, but the short stories are really wonderful.
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As with any collection of short stories featuring different authors, there will be some standouts and some that aren't as memorable. This is a short volume of 12 stories with authors who are fairly new and there are some whose works I'll eagerly await. 

These stories showcase life in different parts of Africa sometimes highlighting beliefs and folklore that are vibrantly and colorfully portrayed while also connecting with themes about love, family, relationships, gender roles, societal expectations and community that are universal.  Many also touch upon traditions from the past being incorporated into our modern world. 

What I enjoy about short story collections is hearing the voices and styles of different authors. Sometimes short stories feel undeveloped or unfinished, but each story in this book is truly a standalone piece - even if I, as a reader,  would like the story to continue. Most, if not all the stories, give you a lot of food for thought. Overall this was a strong collection of new and upcoming authors and I appreciate seeing more works from Africa in mainstream, English-language publishing. 

Thanks to Mukana Press and NetGalley for this copy.
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Again, I am reading a collection of short stories. It's not my favorite genre, but in this case, it is very effective in showing the range of writing coming out of Africa these days. I believe these stories were written in English and not translated by another person, so we are hearing the author's words. They come from different countries; Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania.
The stories reflect the different countries they came from. Each shows a different culture. I added the book to my "Around the world" reading list. I don't actively look for books for this grouping, but I enjoy it when one shows up. I think it helps me better understand the world we live in.
As to the stories themselves, they are a diverse grouping. I'm not sure I would have started out with the tale of a serial killer first. Other stories give us ghosts, demons, class divisions and separations by time and distance. All are very human, showing we aren't that different. I would suggest you give the book a try or three.
I received the copy of the book I read for this review from the publisher through Netgalley.
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This was a refreshing and very intriguing anthology! 
As Mukana Press mentions in the blurb, Africa’s stories have largely been told through a colonist lens that views it with themes of poverty, tragedy, war and grief. It was lovely to read Africa through Africans in different countries. Especially because none of these stories have been adapted or 'dumbed down' for a foreign audience. 

The stories were as authentic as you can get and I kept looking up what various things meant.  This gave me a chance to have a richer and deeper understanding and reading experience, It's something I feel we lose out on when the glossary is just put up or an explanation is worked into the story. For example: brands of soft drink that I ha no idea existed,snacks enjoyed by locals, 'patapatas' which are flip flops and more such things, phrases that I did not know of before!

While there was no common theme connecting the stories, I enjoyed the variety. Crime, fantasy , thriller, slice of life... they were all thrown in there. Not every story was perfect ; I felt like some details and comprehensive elements were missing from a couple of them, but they were all charming and full of heart. 
My favorite ones were - Our girl Bimpe, Mareba's Tavern and A Letter from Ireland  were my favorite of the lot. 

Thank you to Mukana Press for the ARC..
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I really enjoyed reading this short story book. I highly recommend it. The first story deals with a woman in labor to give birth and her thoughts through the whole process. I won't spoil it for you but that one and some of the others I really wished for a longer story. There are some icky parts in some of the stories, but the authors tell a good yarn and I want more.
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The Newlyweds; Window is an anthology of short fiction stories from African authors. I liked some more than others, some of them are very dark and creepy if you like that. I think my favorite part of the book are the authors' bios at the end - they are very quirky. This book really shows the diversity of African literature.
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A very lively, beautifully written collection of twelve short stories by new African writers. These were fresh ideas written with confidence. My favorites were "Gasping for Air".  by Ogechukwu Emmanuel Samuel, "The Newly Wed's Window" by Husnah Mad-by, "Mareba's Tavern" by Gladwell Palmba, "A Letter from Ireland" by Victor Ehikhamenor, and "Our Girl Bimpe" by Olakunle Ologunro. 

What I loved about these stories was their bold announcement of Africanness and modernity, too often still separated in the non-African view.  These were stories celebrating the conflation of both in one, the coexistence of Africanness and global identity in one. Some of these stories revolved unabashedly around modern African womanhood and sexuality, celebrating sexuality with pride. 

I appreciated that these were not stories of postcolonial angst or stories posing tradition against modernity. Perhaps I read too much postcolonial literature; these were refreshing to me because of the absence of those existential themes. They addressed existential themes we are all familiar with (how to live in a technology-driven world, how to be a modern woman, how to be a modern parent, transition from childhood into adulthood, among others), but from an African perspective, an African experience.
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I twisting diverse stories - starting with a creepy serial killer who takes and keeps the eyes of his victims. Written by many new African voices - there is at least one story here to please everyone
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So far, I am really enjoying this book based on the few stories I've read. Each author brings something unique in their tone or writing style that stands out and this is what I love most about each tale. The first story, Gasping for Air, is about a deranged serial killer. It's my favorite so far.because I love the way the author takes you down certain pathways only to trip you up, leave you hanging or second guessing what might really be going on. It's a great talent when an author is able pull this off so smoothly. I am confident there is a lot more creative content and sumptuous surprises yet to be discovered as I work my way to the end of the work!
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Courtesy of Netgalley I received the ARC of The Newlyweds Window, a collection of short stories by emerging African writers. While I enjoyed reading and learning about African families in these stories, all being a worthwhile glimpse into a culture unfamiliar to me, I did find some more cohesive than others. Authors to watch!
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This is a really unique collection of stories.  I have to admit it started with quite the bang with the first story.  Most collections of short stories have a theme, but the only thing tying these stories together is that the authors are from Africa.  I love that so many of the authors are debut authors and I’m glad to see some new fresh voices getting a more wide spread publication.  I found a couple of the stories to drag a little, but overall I felt they were well chosen and powerful.  I really loved the way a few of them blended the supernatural pieces in a way that still felt realistic.  I thought the diverse ways he stories were told were also good.  One story is told all through emails from one friend to another.  Another is told with narration and Facebook posts and comments.  I think my personal favorite was Old Photographs because it is such a fascinating concept.  A young girl wants to learn more about her father and finds a strange picture frame with a picture that she is sure is of him, but what she learns is more than she could have imagined.
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The Newlyweds’ Window is a collection of 12 short stories written by African writers. I am very interested in African writing mainly because of Chimamanda Adichie. 

The first thing that I'd like to say is that the stories are very well written. They seem authentic and the writing creates nice imagery. However, as it happens with most of the short story collection, not every story is very engaging. But some of them are very interesting and intriguing. I'd like to mention the stories I liked ―
the title story, 1. The Newlyweds’ Window 2. Mareba’s Tavern
3. Black Paw Paw
4. How Are You?
5. Rain
6. The Daya Zimu

Others, as I said, are well written but not so interesting and engaging for me. 

Thank you Netgalley and Mukana Press for the copy.
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A very interesting collection of stories by upcoming contemporary African writers. These twelve stories have been selected from 512 entries across 23 countries. Half are by debut authors and a couple have been published only online. Thus what you get is a novel and #OwnVoices glimpse into a culture that rarely gets a voice on the international writing stage.

While many short story anthologies are built around a theme, the only thing common to the stories of this collection is the continent of origin of its writers. The writers come from multiple countries across Africa, and the stories come from genres as varied as horror, contemporary drama, fantasy, and crime thriller. This variety might work negatively for those who prefer a strong theme connecting stories in a single volume or for those who don’t prefer darker genres, but I relished the rich medley. 

The events in each story range from the boring to the bizarre. The endings aren’t in your traditional HEA style, nor are they complete. Many stories are in the slice-of-life style, thereby making their endings seem like the end of a scene. But to my surprise, the endings work very well for most of the tales. They left me wanting more, in a very good way, by stopping at the right point of curiosity.

What I loved most about this collection was that the stories were infused with the flavour of the land, just as true cultural fiction should be. I hate it when stories are supposed to be set in a location but they could be transposed to any place on the globe without changing anything in its writing. That doesn’t happen here. Every single story is like an ode to Africa and its richness, and every single story can be set only in Africa. 

Of the twelve stories, six reached or crossed the 4 star mark for me. Most of the remaining stories were clustered around the 3-3.5 stars point. My favourite tales were:
Gasping for Air – An unusual lead, an unexpected end - 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫
Black pawpaw – Outstanding writing style. Creepy and captivating at the same time - 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫
Our Girl Bimpe – The horrors of online presence experienced through a young girl’s Facebook account. Quite shocking - 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫

“Mukana” means “opportunity” in Shona, a language spoken in South Africa. I found this name very serendipitous as Mukana Press seems to have provided a fabulous opportunity to these young writers. I will keep an eye out for their subsequent publications.

3.75 stars, based on the average of my rating for the twelve stories.

My thanks to Mukana Press and NetGalley for the DRC of “The Newlyweds’ Window”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.
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🌴Raw, frequently confusing & unfinished🙁

2.5-3.0 🌟 stars
Afraid the only of the twelve stories I really found really interesting was Our Girl Bimpe which focused on a Nigerian teenager's bad experiences due to the Internet.  There was a heavy emphasis on the occult in many of the other stories.  A number were confusing due to expressions used and/or did not seem to have a clear direction; several just ended with no satisfying conclusion.  

Thanks to Mukana Press and NetGalley for sharing a complimentary advance copy of the collection;  this is my voluntary and honest opinion.
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I was pleasantly surprised to find myself really liking this collection of stories. Some are amusingly bizarre while others are mundanely entertaining. My favourites are Rain, Our Girl Bimpe, and Old Photographs.
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While not usually a short story reader, I really enjoyed this exposure to a wide variety of writers from different African countries and with different writing styles.  A great introduction to a number of authors -- some of whom I will follow in the future.  A few stories were a little too creepy for me but that is the beauty of a collection -- just skip!
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Fantastical introduction to up and coming African authors. Will definitely recommend this story to others. I cannot wait to read more from the authors.
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