Voice of America
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An electrifying debut from a winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing
E. C. Osondu is a fearless and passionate new writer, whose stories echo the joys and struggles of a cruel, beautiful world. His characters burst from the page—they fight, beg, love, grieve, but ultimately they are dreamers. Set in Nigeria and the United States, Voice of America moves from the fears and dreams of boys and girls in villages and refugee camps to the disillusionment and confusion of young married couples living in America, and then back to bustling Lagos.
In "Waiting," two young refugees make their way through another day, fighting for meals and hoping for a miracle that will carry them out of the camp; in "A Simple Case," the boyfriend of a prostitute is rounded up by the local police and must charm his fellow prisoners for protection and survival; and in "Miracle Baby," the trials of pregnancy and mothers-in-law are laid bare in a woman’s return to her homeland. Each of the eighteen stories here possesses a voice at once striking and elegant, capturing the dramatic lives of an unforgettable cast of characters.
Written with exhilarating energy and warmth, the stories of Voice of America are full of humor, pathos, and wisdom, marking the debut of an extraordinary new talent.
the village.” “Why are the Americans sending the eye doctors to us? Do they mean to tell us they have cured all the blind people in America?” “The elders should meet and tell the woman what to do, just in case she does not know.” Words got to the ears of the elders, and they, being people who acted in the interest of the inhabitants of the village, decided to prevail on the mother of the girl to do the right thing. They made their points—they told her that her daughter’s gift was for the good
weird things. A woman in the tape said that she had been made to drink cow urine for nine months, “No water, only cow urine from a white cow, for nine months.” She emphasized each word. And yet she could not become pregnant. Another woman gleefully confessed that a babalawo had told her that the only way she could get pregnant was if she let him have his way with her. The babalawo was a wrinkled, toothless ninety-year-old. She confessed that she was so desperate she had slept with the man, and
that it had to be done in a certain position for at least a dozen times. He took her to the university health center. The nurse practitioner, who smiled all the time, ran a test for her, and within five minutes confirmed that she was indeed pregnant.She also told them that in a few months’ time they could have a sonogram to determine the sex of the baby, like most couples did in America. But his wife, who otherwise embraced everything American, objected to that. “We don’t do that in Africa,” she
to her, she will pack her things and move into your house, leaking roof and all. As the elders say, when you piss on one spot, it is more likely to froth.” “But exactly what did you write to her that has made her silent?” Lucky asked. Onwordi was silent, but he smiled liked a dumb man who has accidentally glimpsed a young woman’s pointed breast and ordered more drinks. “Or have you started hiding her mail from us ? Maybe the contents are too intimate for our eyes. Or now that you have become
on the same street. Her name was Bridget, and she was an undergraduate at the University of Lagos. They had been discussing one of the novels Mark was reading. He was always reading fat books that were sold cheaply on Lagos sidewalks. They were still talking when Beauty stumbled on them. She pulled up her trousers, clapped her hands, and screamed, “Come and see this small girl prostitute husband snatcher that wants to take my man.” “Come on, Beauty, we were only talking about books,” Mark said,