Analysis of Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

Title: Say You’re One of Them

Author: Uwem Akpan

Context: Say You're One of Them (2008) is a stunning post colonial novel by Uwem Akpan. Say You’re One of Them is a collection of short stories by Uwem Akpan, the Nigerian writer. It contains five short stories with each set in a different country in Africa. This short stories collection has come out in paperback recently and is presently the new Oprah’s Book Club selection.

Synopsis: The novel piercingly humanizes the difficulties of violence and poverty in Africa. The narrator requires just adequate money to pay his fees and purchase books so that he can attend his school. His twelve year old sister tries to realize this dream by taking to the streets and raising petty funds. However since food is top priority, the boy’s dream is difficult to fulfill. The family resides in Nairobi, Kenya, in a shanty on a street. However a universal chord is struck by their methods of both taking an advantage and loving each other. The author has rendered lives of unthinkable terror and deprivation into a story nothing short of transcendent.

The second story is about a young girl who sees the worst possible scenes between their parents. To protect the children the parents are asked to do some of the most unimaginable things. The story collection also reveals harsh consequences faced by the children of Africa in Ethiopia, Benin and Nigeria. This terrifying and brave novel has the unnerving effect of making contemporary fiction appear much more inconsequential gibberish.

Other works by the Author:

Antes de ir a Gabón. Intermón Oxfam Editorial

Uwem Akpan taught at a Jesuit college in Harare, Zimbabwe

Presently he serves at Christ the King Church, Ilasamaja-Lagos, Nigeria

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Author: Facilitator