(I first discovered Irenosen Okojie in The Unreliable Guide to London – my review can be found here. I love finding new authors through anthologies.)
This short story collection is…odd.
I finished it not an hour ago, and already the stories are starting to slip and slide around my head, morphing into strange black women with jewels for eyes and bloody hearts in their hands.
Magic abounds in Speak Gigantular. If someone was to make a Black Girl Magic reading list (which definitely should be a thing, if it isn’t already!), this should feature on it. And not just because there are ghosts and aliens, because there is a deep sense of the particular beauty and empowerment that comes of being a young, black woman. That’s probably the one thing that I can see in pretty much all the short stories – not what I really expected, but I’m definitely glad it is there.
I’ve actually read quite a few short story collections this year, and this is definitely one of the best. Okojie has a very distinct voice, which both entrances and repels me. Also, I find that short story collections can often sound quite amateur and undergraduate-y, but I didn’t think that at all, in this case.
I’m very interested to read her novel Butterfly Fish – her style works very well for short stories, and I’d love to see how it expands into the novel form.