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Zaynab Quadri

I love reading stories about facades and identity with multiple perspectives and angles, something about them just hooks me. I can’t really explain it—there’s just something about people and drama that’s guaranteed to please every single time.

Which is why, when I first heard of Nike Campbell-Fatoki's collection of short stories Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon, I knew it was probably for me. Plus the cover was really pretty.

The first story 'Apartment Twenty-Four' follows Ade, a Nigerian, struggling to make ends meet in America. In this chapter, Fatoki creates a narrative puzzle that is both a structural joy to read and immensely suspenseful.

Like any great story, what matters most in Fatoki’s stories are the relationships. I loved the relationship between Ade and Mrs. Horowitz, a willowy ninety-two-year-old woman suffering from dementia. I love how Ade relates with his boss, his Nigerian neighbor Mr. Tamuno. It is all so remarkable, and yet so completely ordinary at the same time.

Her characters are complex and troubled and sometimes downright awful, yet even the most flawed among them is treated by the author with compassion and understanding.

Like Tamuno a closeted gay who sleeps with men to make extra cash to fund his expensive lifestyle or the father in ' losing my religion' who is more obsessed with pleasing his pastor than paying attention to his f ...

I love reading stories about facades and identity with multiple perspectives and angles, something about them just hooks me. I can’t really explain it—there’s just something about people and drama that’s guaranteed to please every single time.

Which is why, when I first heard of Nike Campbell-Fatoki’s collection of short stories Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon, I knew it was probably for me. Plus the cover was really pretty.

The first story ‘Apartment Twenty-Four’ follows Ade, a Nigerian, struggling to make ends meet in America. In this chapter, Fatoki creates a narrative puzzle that is both a structural joy to read and immensely suspenseful.

Like any great story, what matters most in Fatoki’s stories are the relationships. I loved the relationship between Ade and Mrs. Horowitz, a willowy ninety-two-year-old woman suffering from dementia. I love how Ade relates with his boss, his Nigerian neighbor Mr. Tamuno. It is all so remarkable, and yet so completely ordinary at the same time.

Her characters are complex and troubled and sometimes downright awful, yet even the most flawed among them is treated by the author with compassion and understanding.

Like Tamuno a closeted gay who sleeps with men to make extra cash to fund his expensive lifestyle or the father in ‘ losing my religion’ who is more obsessed with pleasing his pastor than paying attention to his family.

To be honest, writing a short story is tricky. There is no room for mistakes, clumsy paragraphs, and lousy dialogue. You have about 20 pages to say what you have to say and make sure it is powerful and would leave an impression.

The stories in this collection, however, are quite messy and confusing that I had to keep going back to re-read the stories in order to understand what the author is talking about.

Some of the stories were painful and torturous to get through. The storyline and the ending are so vague that it’s hard to figure out what is really going on.

By and large, I found this collection overrated. Which is not to say that I didn’t find some of the stories fantastic, the title story for example, as well as the 2nd story (losing my religion). And nothing was really bad here, but none of these stories strike me as phenomenal.

This is not to say Fatoki is not a talented writer. She has a wonderful voice, though, and there were parts I thoroughly enjoyed. Throughout this collection, she plays with point of view, her readers’ emotions, and the human psyche. Her characters are placed in somewhat absurd situations, and through their absurdity, the stories provide social commentary on our society.

Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon is a decent collection. These ten tales of love, vengeance, religious fanaticism, family, compassion, and the strengths of women are written skillfully and are quite entertaining even if a little sloppy at times.

There is nothing special about this book, though. They didn’t knock me off my feet and I am a little baffled by the whole ‘it is one of the best book of the year’ thing.

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