SYNOPSIS:Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring, Skin Folk) has been widely hailed as a highly significant voice in Caribbean and American fiction. She has been dubbed “one of our most important writers,” (Junot Diaz), with “an imagination that most of us would kill for” (Los Angeles Times), and her work has been called “stunning,” (New York Times) “rich in voice, humor, and dazzling imagery” (Kirkus), and “simply triumphant” (Dorothy Allison).
Falling in Love with Hominids presents over a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Carribean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.
REVIEW:I really enjoyed my introduction to Ms. Hopkinson's work. From the very beginning it was clear that these stories would reflect all the contrasting emotions that make us human. She explains in the foreward "We are, all of us, capable simultaneously of such great good and such horrifying evil." The vivid imagery, plain language and memorable diverse characters made almost all of the short stories very enjoyable. I noticed how many times she mentioned hair, characters doing each other's hair reminded me so much of my own life. Hearing about twisting dreadlocks and taming afros immediately made my heart glad, because it reminded me of my many friends and family members. It was refreshing to see some of my identity and culture reflected back at me.
None of the stories are connected and the different themes and settings kept me intrigued along the way. Between elephants in rooms, limitless food for the hungry, time travel and fragrant tattoos, I was righteously entertained. There were nice introductions to the stories to help orient the reader, and gain more understanding about her writing process.
The were reasons that this wasn't quite a five star collection, were few. There were some very short stories that I thought ended too soon, and some stories that required familiarity with other literary works. As a reader I think stories are stronger when they have a definite arc and don't require the use of Wikipedia. But these issues were in no way something that brought down the collection significantly, and may not even be a issue for some . I'm looking forward to reading more of Hopkinson's work in the near future. I would recommend this to fans of sci-fi, who enjoy diverse characters and unique imagery.
Some of my favorites in this collection are described below.
Easthound- A story of two twins coping with the loss of all the adults in the world, while trying to survive growing up.
Message in a Bottle- A small girls tells her deepest secret, before she has to face the consequences of revealing the truth.
"Every shell is a life journal, made out of the very substance of its creator, and left as a record of what it thought, even if we can't understand exactly what it thought. Sometimes interpretation is a trap sometimes we need to simply observe."
The Smile of the Face- A young girl coming of age, gaining courage from a tree that helps her find her voice.
"You want hair that lies down and plays dead, and you want to pay alot of money for it, and you want to do it every six weeks."
Left Foot, Right- A young girl learning to let go and forgive herself, after her grief leads her to walk with one shoe for weeks.
"Not Polite to Stare. Anyway in a world gone strange, why make a fuss about a missing pair of eyes and a nose with no holes?"
Ours is the Prettiest- A cross over story with characters from the Border town series (which I'm not familiar with at all). This describes a woman trying to help everyone around her, in a town full of fantasy magic and wonder.
"As you aged, your body altered and became a stranger to you, and one day you woke up and realized you were in a different country. It was just life."
This e-book was provided from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.