Things Are Good Now, the debut collection by Ethiopian-Canadian author Djamila Ibrahim, features nine well-crafted short stories that chronicle painful quests for belonging. Its main characters are displaced people – refugees, migrants, and immigrants – with heavy dreams. Many of them have literal nightmares prompted by memories of torture, imprisonment and other such traumatic experiences they endured in their home country.
“It felt suddenly absurd that as missionaries we had come to teach Haitians about God. God was already here,” she writes. “Maybe our only job was to bear witness to the beauty – and the sorrow. Without denying either one.”
As Kuusisto pays tribute to his beloved first guide dog, he respects the inner curiosities of both canine and human affection. “Disabilities never vanish. What a dog can do is entice you back into the world,” he writes.
Hinton’s gritty yet triumphant memoir bears witness to the rewards inherent in “loving mercy” in one of the world’s most seemingly forsaken places.
Ambition’s personal, often lyrical essays also acknowledge that ambition can be viewed as both a virtue and a vice. Its authors belong to The Chrysostom Society, a community named for Early Church Father John Chrysostom.
I say Fire is worth a listen – repeated listens, even – precisely because it has such classic warmth and familiar ease of style.
“I moved to Kalabo when I was 26 years old. Nothing but a black-soil prairie girl from North Dakota. A bride of six weeks married to a blue-eyed boy from the Netherlands,” she says in the prologue to her memoir about this time, So Many Africas. “We stayed six years, and then we moved away. . . . I put Africa behind me. I moved on. Or at least I tried to, but I could not dig deep enough to forget.”
Readers familiar with Toibin’s other novels and stories will not be surprised that Nora’s relationship with her two sons is central to the story. Having lost his own father at a young age, and raised by his mother in rural Ireland, it would be a fair assumption that Nora Webster contains at least a few autobiographical elements that give added truth to his observations.
“This is normal,” says a young man named Ahmed as he lights a candle to brighten up a Cairo room. “The lights are out all over the world.