‘Light’ by Leslie Nneka Arimah

I picked What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky from my shelf a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t sleeping well and only had the concentration for something short – the half-dozen, half-read novels scattered around my flat are testament to this. I read the first story, ‘The Future Looks Good’ and immediately took to Twitter to say that the collection was worth buying on the strength of that story alone. The rest did not disappoint. The collection is the best I’ve ever read: Arimah does things with the form that shouldn’t be possible whilst delivering a fierce emotional punch.

In ‘Light’ Enebeli Okwara raises his unnamed daughter while her mother is in America studying for a master’s degree. But Okwara is unaware of what the world does to young women, ‘He did not know how quickly it would wick the dew off her, how she would be returned to him hollowed out, relieved of her better parts’.

From What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky. Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa. First published in Granta and available to read here