Vivid, powerful stories of contemporary Nigeria, from a talented young author
Love Is Power, or Something Like That
- “[Barrett’s] prose may shock and startle; but with anguish, violence and cruelty comes compassion. Barrett artfully captures humanity in these nine tales. . . . A scrumptious read.”—NPR, “Best Books of 2013”
When it comes to love, things are not always what they seem. In contemporary Lagos, a young boy may pose as a woman online, and a maid may be suspected of sleeping with her employer and yet still become a young wife’s confidant. Men and women can be objects of fantasy, the subject of beery soliloquies. They can be trophies or status symbols. Or they can be overwhelming in their need. In these wide-ranging stories, A. Igoni Barrett roams the streets with people from all stations of life. A man with acute halitosis navigates the chaos of the Lagos bus system. A minor policeman, full of the authority and corruption of his uniform, beats his wife. A family’s fortunes fall from love and wealth to infidelity and poverty, as poor choices unfurl over three generations. With humor and tenderness, Barrett introduces us to an utterly modern Nigeria, where desire is a means to an end, and love is a power as real as money.
- "A remarkable portrait of life in Nigeria. . . . The contemporary globalized culture of every day Africa [Barrett] gives us seems quite messy and utterly convincing."—Alan Cheuse, NPR, "All Things Considered"
- “[Love Is Power, or Something Like That] pulses with an indomitable life force. . . . [Barrett] captures lives full of yearning, striving, setbacks, and moments of joy.”—The Boston Globe
- “A nervy and engrossing collection. . . . Barrett has a distinctive voice and vividly captures the restless energy of Lagos, one of the world’s fastest-growing cities.”—Chicago Tribune
- “The violent, furtive and tender lives Barrett follows in this story collection provide moments of empathy amid wrenching drama and subtle comedy.”—Time Out New York