The roses he had bought at the train station he lay to one side while he worked to make the place neat.
The leaves he scattered on either side of the grave. He snatched a fistful of dead grass and leaves and wilted flowers and stuffed them into his jacket pocket; he could find no other container for these things.
Don't have an account? On Sunday they wander Regent's Park, temporarily uplifted by its beauty and peacefulness, but on Monday morning they return to the world of the hostel, where they are condemned simply to wait for the next phase of their journey, struggling with the torment of memory and fear of the future. Search for an item in libraries near you: This mood seems a more or less convincing way of reflecting some aspects of the experience of exile. Moving, funny and occasionally shocking, Afolabi's stories reflect the way we live now. Not in the UK? To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here:
He stood and with a handkerchief and spit he wiped the top of the gravestone until it gleamed. He cursed himself for arriving unprepared; there were utensils idling in the kitchen cupboards which would have been useful now.
The place where the boy's name was etched he dabbed and smoothed with the remaining clean patch of cloth. Moses - the name shone in gilt lettering - Moses Lanre Akande. Marcovaldo or Seasons in the City by Italo Calvino.
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In "Arithmetic", the narrator watches the doors close on the London Underground and reflects: He encounters her later on at the club where he plays, and refuses to perform that night. In "The Husband of Your Wife's Best Friend", an air traffic controller is alienated from his family and colleagues by a persistent fantasy about a fellow worker. These are uneasy lives, in which the protagonists are unable to locate any refuge from their inner devastation.
The effect is heightened by the fact that the social context and geography of the places they inhabit are somehow missing; this gives the stories a relentless focus on the characters' inner life, but also an intensely enigmatic quality, as if the reader is wandering in a thick fog around a featureless landscape. This mood seems a more or less convincing way of reflecting some aspects of the experience of exile.
On the other hand, every narrator has the same doomed and world-weary tone, and every story ends in the same dying fall - "Some mornings I wake up and I am afraid. I have a wife, a daughter, a son.
There will be days and days and days of this, and in the end it will be forgotten. This persistent tone gives the collection a feeling of flatness and monotony, which is unfortunate because Segun has a supple, disciplined style, capable of suggesting layers of complex emotion and memory in a few phrases.
One story, "Something in the Water", stands out because the protagonist's inner turmoil is, unusually, triggered by a detailed portrait of people and landscape; it demonstrates that Segun's talents aren't confined to sketchy portraits of the lost and the lonely. This collection may not altogether fulfil the expectations excited by the award of the Caine prize, but as a first effort, it reveals a writer of exceptional promise.