Cover Image: The Newlyweds’ Window

The Newlyweds’ Window

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Member Reviews

The story did not meet the expectation of the description. I couldn't make it through the first chapter. I'm not sure if he is human but thinks serial killers aren't human or if he is another species. It's extremely detailed but reads more sci-fi than anything.
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Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Like any anthology, particularly with stories by different writers, each story must be considered separately. As a whole, however, I enjoyed reading all of these, as they were a taste of the new writing from Africa, and led me to making a list of authors that I will be watching for in the future!

Some of my favorites are
Border Control - a pretty rough look at childbirth, through the eyes of the woman in labor.
The Newlyweds Window - about a young woman with a pretty dull life, who chooses to watch the life of Zanzibar as it shows through her window, with a focus on the couple across the street.
Mareba's Tavern - an independent woman who runs her life as she chooses.
Rain - a supernatural revenge on a woman who has hurt others in her unthinking ways, as shown through a series of emails to a friend who she has previously offended and antagonized.
Our Girl Bimpe - - ah, Facebook. What happens when a young woman decides to create a whole new identity on FB, posts there freely, and it all catches up with her.
A Letter from Ireland - how does a tradition grandma deal with the knowledge of her son's new life in Ireland?

A number of the other stories are what I would characterize as horror - not my favorite genre, but they are all interesting and well written.

This is definitely an anthology to dip into, for enjoyment and to broaden your reading horizons!
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This was an okay compilation. Some stories were much stronger reads than others. It took me weeks to read it because nothing grabbed me.
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One ot the best novel i have read so far.. The character interactions .. The world building is so good!!.. I wish i could get a second book.. But i really recommend reading this.. + Its interesting to learn about African culture
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Some pieces are stronger than others, but nevertheless collectively a wonderful glimpse into contemporary African writing and the writers who will be the shining stars in tomorrow's literary landscape!  A real gift to lovers of African literature and delightfully varied. My only suggestion is a bit more editorial pruning in any future iterations of this collection.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Newlyweds' Window: The 2022 Mukana Press Anthology of African Writing is a short story collection of Africa's emerging writers. According to the description, "Africa’s stories have largely been relegated to themes of poverty, and war; yet there is so much more brilliance, texture, and layers to our stories." Thanks to the publishers, the world will be introduced to the beauty and nuance of African writing.

Here is a lovely excerpt from "Gasping for Air," the first short story:

"I open my fridge and the cornea and lenses are beautiful, the eyes that
stare back at me from different transparent containers—different
colors, different shades, different sizes—glorify me, all ninety-eight
of them. I admire the colors—brown, black, gray, blue. The blues are
few, while beautiful brown eyes fill up everywhere. The transparent
containers are arranged neatly, one on top of the other. They belonged
to people whom the earth would rather not see, and I feel the earth’s
heart beating with glee and thanks every time I see them. They tell the
story of my contribution to God’s green earth. They are something,
these eyes."

Overall, The Newlyweds' Window: The 2022 Mukana Press Anthology of African Writing is a wonderful collection that should be sold and available everywhere. One highlight of this book is how it introduces readers outside Africa to a new generation of writers who write beyond the typical themes seen in books about Africa. After reading the description, I was so excited to read this collection. I did take off 2 stars, because none of the stories really appealed to me or interested me, which was disappointing. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of diverse books in general, you can check out this book, which is available now!
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Wow, what an interesting anthology! I hope for my review to do it justice as until recently I've not been much of an anthology reader, and my reading of authors from the African continent has been sorely limited. So much thanks to NetGalley for granting me a free copy.

It's hard to summarize an anthology, and for this one in particular because the stories had such breadth of theme, characters, and mood. I think there's something in this book for everyone. Personally I found the girls coming of age stories (particularly Our Girl Bimpe and Old Photographs) quite relatable despite having grown up on the other side of the world. These are such human stories and even appealed to me as someone with very little knowledge of any African cultures. The characters were varied and well-developed. I was also inspired to remedy that by these stories. Just as interesting as the stories themselves were the author bios. I look forward to seeing the authors out online and finding more of their work.
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Dynamite stories from Africa!

“I open my fridge and the cornea and lenses are beautiful, the eyes that stare back at me from different transparent containers….”

That’s the line from the first story.

Here’s the opening to the second story:

“Open your legs! I lie flat on my back to sacrifice myself into a wider Y for Nurse Clara, who wants to peer deeper into my nether regions.”

See? How could I resist? This is a collection of short stories by African writers, put together by Mukana Press, which wanted to showcase new African writers. Some numbers: there are 12 stories, which were picked from 512 entries across 23 countries. Man, did they choose some good ones! It’s all I can do not to include a quote-athon! Ha, as soon as I say that, I realize I have to add a couple more gemmy lines:

“I try remembering the last time I crossed my legs. I make a mental note to treasure that moment.”

“Another contraction threatens to kiss tomorrow off my calendar.”

“What she hated was idle time, when she could hear her thoughts.”

“Ma reminds me of a lotus. The kind that grows in muddy ponds: beautiful on the surface, with a lot of ugliness going on underneath.”

“Did I not clear the cobwebs between your legs just last week?”

There were a couple stories I didn’t like (they were about the supernatural, which I hate), a few that were just okay, and the rest I loved. I even liked a couple that had magical realism. A few stories lacked endings, but that often happens in collections. One story (“This is for My Aunt Penzi, Who—") had way too many sentences in an African language, and there was no translation to English; it says something that I still liked the story even though half the time I didn’t know what was being said! Still, the press maybe shouldn’t have picked that one for its international audience.

There are two stories that made me grab my pogo stick: 

“Black Pawpaw” had me holding on for dear life. It’s a (literary) thriller about sexual abuse. I loved it so much I took a trip with Google and found out that the author, Paul Ezeodili from Nigeria, had another work available, and I promptly bought it on Kindle. I was surprised that a man wrote this story, the point of view is so very female; I would have bet money that it was a woman writer. His bio at the end of the book is a kick.

“Our Girl Bimpe,” by Olakunle Ologunro (also of Nigeria), also grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. It’s about a girl who takes on a new identity on social media. I’m telling you, this story will stay with me a long time. Of course, I went to Google again, and damn, I couldn’t find anything else written by the author. But I did find a picture of him with Adichie, a writer whose short stories I love—I’m so excited that they know each other! Hopefully, we’ll see more by this author. I am waiting in line.
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There’s a serial killer, a woman in labor, a woman watching newlyweds from her window, a couple of girls coming of age, to name a few of the plots. Lots of genres. One character thinks she’s being attacked by an incubus while sleeping. I had to look up “incubus”—it’s a demon who has sex with a sleeping woman. Now that got my attention! All the stories are well-written and really give you the flavor of life in Africa. There’s a list of author bios at the end of the book, and some of them are entertaining as hell.

I’m so glad that Mukana Press put together this collection, giving new voices from Africa some exposure. 

What made me request this advance copy? Well, two of my favorite books are from Africa: Stay with Me and The Girl Who Smiled Beads. Also, I like short stories by Adichie (I didn’t like one of her novels, but I’m still in love with her writing), so African short stories appealed to me. I was massively curious about this collection, and it didn’t disappoint.

If you like short stories, especially those from different cultures, check this book out. I’d love to see it get more press.

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
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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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