The Newlywed’s Window, which is published by Mukana Press, is an absolutely stunning collection of short stories from up-and-coming African authors. Usually, collections like this one tend to follow a single theme that’s woven throughout each story to create a cohesive sense of genre continuity. Not so with this beautiful collection!
This book features a dozen stories in total, and each one serves as its own unique window through which the reader may view a perfectly crystalline vision of some of the most masterful storytelling I’ve read in an anthology in a very long time. Each new author offers up a different lens through which the reader views a distinct slice of life that showcases wildly different perspectives on life on the African continent, creating a range of tones and themes that together create a vibrant kaleidoscopic image that dazzles the senses and stimulates the mind.
Some of the stories are entrenched in an almost philosophical realism, like Atline Jojo’s “Border Control,” Gladwell Pamba’s “Mareba’s Tavern,” “This Is For My Aunt Penzi, Who-” by Idza Luhumyo, and Husnah Mad-hy’s “The Newlywed’s Window.” Each of these stories is deeply rooted in exploring issues surrounding women’s autonomy, identity, and inherent value in a landscape of slowly shifting social structures that is experiencing growing pains initiated by the spread of Western feminist ideals.
Other stories, such as “How Are You?” by Cynthia Nnadi, “Our Girl Bimpe” by Olankule Ologunro, and “Black Paw Paw” by Obinna Ezeodili, center on the seemingly impossible choices young women face as they come of age in a world that is so often hostile to their needs and dreams, the importance of a supportive social and family structure, and the potential emotional and physical danger involved in having those relationships ripped away by either choice or circumstance.
“Gasping For Air” by Ogechukwu Emmanuel Samuel, “Rain” by Muuka Gwaba, “The Daya Zimu” by Vanessa Nakayange, “A Letter From Ireland” by Victor Ehikhamenor, and “Old Photographs” by Hannah Onoguwe, all of which either revolve around old cultural traditions steeped in mysticism balanced with modern social contrivances and newly evolving traditions.