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Sci-Fi melds with an Ikea-like emporium with hilarious, disturbing results. An ongoing problem is a wormhole that sometimes swallows unwitting customers. Ava and Jules (who is non-binary) are dispatched to retrieve one. They must careen through various dangerous multiverses to reach her and when they do—surprise! What’s especially funny is the depiction of absurdly cozy or pretentious environments throughout the store which sometimes come to life in sinister forms. If you’ve ever gotten lost in Ikea, you’ll find this delightful parody spot on.
Poor Paul. Bad luck dogs him: budget constraints drop him from professor to adjunct, his beloved daughter is getting snarky as joint custody is strained, and it doesn’t help that he must move in with his elderly mother and start working as a ride-sharing driver. He’s a self- proclaimed, grumpy luddite—the subject of his manuscript in work—and he comes up with the cracked plan of infiltrating a Fox News-like show to get publicity for his book to be. How much can one man lose? The denouement says it all. Cynical, sad, and funny as a crutch.
The author loves farm work passionately, despite all evidence to the contrary: back breaking labor, vagaries of climate, meager rewards, and the brutality inherent in nature. Especially killing what you raise. Boy, does she tell it like it is, pulling no punches in richly descriptive, down to earth prose. One detail that especially haunts me: making a delicious, decorated cake for the very animal that’s doomed right after he snuffles it down. I now look at what I eat in a new light, uncompromising but grateful. New England setting.
In 2015 three women are reunited in Lagos for a daughter’s nuptials. They met in university where they formed a tight alliance but have taken different paths which reflect their diverse temperaments and fates. There are hints of tragedy, but we don’t find out the backstory until the action takes us back to 1983 where the seeds of difficulty were planted. Much about women’s constraints and political pressures woven into the narrative. Obaro drops in many words and phrases without translation; most easy to figure out in context but, for instance, what is one’s “swallow?” (If you decode it, let me know.)