“A vital voice in the short story, telling us new truths with deep humanity."
Celebrated Nigerian-born writer E.C. Osondu delivers a short-story collection of nimble dexterity and startling originality in his BOA Short Fiction Prize-winning Alien Stories.
These eighteen stories, each centered around an encounter with the unexpected, explore what it means to be an alien. With a nod to the dual meaning of alien as both foreigner and extraterrestrial, Osondu turns familiar science-fiction tropes and immigration narratives on their heads, blending one with the other to call forth a whirlwind of otherness.
With wry observations about society and human nature, in shifting landscapes from Africa to America to outer space and back again, Alien Stories breaks down the concept of foreignness to reveal what unites us all as ‘aliens’ within a complex and interconnected universe.
“Osondu looks at the human condition in all its poignant absurdity; with observant wonder and subtle humor, he portrays our capacity for heartbreak, resilience, love, courage, sorrow, and most of all, our unique capacity for hope and hopelessness rolled together.”
—Mary Gaitskill, author of This Is Pleasure
“E.C. Osondu has written uncannily direct stories with nothing ‘posed’ about them. This is a collection of real power, surprise, and harsh beauty.”
—Amy Hempel, author of Sing to It
Praise for Voice of America
“There is room here for every style of storytelling, from folktale to crime tale to satire, to the very sombre and sad – and just when you think the writer has surely exhausted his bag of uproariously funny observations of street life in Lagos, or of immigrant experience in America, he unpacks more.”
“His characters may dream about America, but E. C. Osondu’s bracing portrayal of life in Africa is the heart of this debut story collection.”
—The New York Times
“Meticulous and energetic, these stories brim with stubborn hope sprung free from life’s dark realities.”
“Osondu’s excellent short stories, set in both Nigeria and the U.S., reveal the vast cultural chasm that persists between our countries . . . These richly shaded tales explore old ways and new, wealth and poverty, myth, and misapprehension.”
“Osondu juxtaposes the richness and desperation of life ‘on the ground’ in Africa with the actualities of the American dream . . . This book is essential.”
Praise for This House Is Not For Sale
“Osondu’s novel captures the depth and breadth of African society in a neighborhood in a nameless country where fable-like stories revolve around a marvelous ancestral house run by the narrator’s grandfather.”
—Publishers Weekly, ★ Starred Review
“A very modern, compassionate voice . . . Osondu is ceaseless in his willingness to examine the human condition in all its glories and frailties.”
“Clearly drawing on the culture of traditional oral storytelling, a refrain of unidentified voices whispering and gossiping appears regularly throughout the book. This recalls a classical Greek chorus, punctuating what is otherwise the voice of a single narrator; that of one of Grandpa's grandchildren, an eagle-eyed child who watches the lives of those around him unfold. His voice is like the string of a necklace on which a host of beads – the individual chapters – are strung.”