About the book
In nine exhilarating stories of queer love in contemporary Nigeria, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things announces the arrival of a daring new voice in fiction.
A man revisits the university campus where he lost his first love, aware now of what he couldn’t understand then. A young musician rises to fame at the price of pieces of himself, and the man who loves him. Arinze Ifeakandu explores with tenderness and grace the fundamental question of the heart: can deep love and hope be sustained in spite of the dominant expectations of society, and great adversity.
A beautiful, significant debut. Although he writes about queer lives and loves in Nigeria, Arinze Ifeakandu’s voice is sensually alert to the human and universal in every situation. These quietly transgressive stories are the work of a brilliant new talent.
—Damon Galgut, Booker prizewinner for The Promise
An exquisite, complex examination of the vulnerabilities of queer love and desire amid family fears, dreams, and the power of expectations, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things is a shimmering, beguiling debut.
—Asako Serizawa, author of Inheritors
These stories are written with raw tender grace. They dramatize what love is like in a time when love is under siege. They are brilliant when they explore intimate moments and are superb as they render with complexity and nuance the relations between characters. It is clear from this book that a serious literary talent has emerged.
—Colm Tóibín, author of The Magician
These are heartbreaking stories of love and loss, as granular and nourishing as the harmattan, the cold winter wind that blows out of the Sahara. Ifeakandu is a writer of lyricism and profundity at the beginning of a brilliant career.
—Edmund White, author of A Saint from Texas
These are brilliant stories: heartbroken but pulsing with life, wise but never cynical, and soaked in an atmosphere so convincing it’s like being inside a great album. The prose alone is worth the price of the ticket, as lush as it is exact, but through it comes whole worlds of longing and travail, youth and aging, queer love expressed in so many of its facets. Arinze Ifeakandu is a major talent, and God’s Children Are Little Broken Things is a seriously good book.
—Adam Haslett, author of Imagine Me Gone
Magic in motion. My love for this work isn’t just about the lush tenderness of the writing—which is abundant here—but also about the book’s internal circuitry. This book knows what it’s doing, where its electricities need to pass through for maximum impact, knows who it is for and who it certainly doesn’t answer to, and is its own self-contained habitat. God’s Children Are Little Broken Things remains subtle and measured even through massive emotional transitions, carrying the reader the whole way through. Arinze writes like a composer or an orchestral director, bringing notes together to form a staggering, heartshattering show.
—Eloghosa Osunde, author of Vagabonds!
Shimmering with an interrogation of desire at the turn of every page… Ifeakandu’s writing of relationships reveals the deeply human experience of compromise, tension, and betrayal that permeates our connections with one another. An intoxicating debut and a fresh perspective on love, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things is a marvel to delight in. —Kaitlynn Cassady, Seminary Co-op Bookstore
Readers of Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Anthony Veasna So’s Afterparties will be delighted to discover God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, a dazzling collection of stories about the private lives of contemporary Nigerians. It is at once deeply intimate, emotionally resonant, and full of the vulnerability that comes when our interior selves are at odds with exterior expectations. I am most thankful to be a bookseller when it means discovering a fresh, necessary new voice like Arinze Ifeakandu. —Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop
Arinze Ifeakandu is a new revolutionary. This collection of stories is so necessary to understanding the world we live in today. Queerness, closetedness, myriad representations of love: all are present in this critically and culturally important work. Ifeakandu is an important new voice in queer African literature. —Shane Mullen, Left Bank Books
Human connection—its rapture, danger, and delicacy—is at the core of each of Arinze Ifeakandu’s nine stories, and he illuminates its many facets with agility and sensitivity. This resplendent debut brims with the boundless energy and existential ache of discovery and loss, as the queer Nigerians at their centers bond with and pull away from their families, their communities, and one another. Even when divorce, death, and grief reformat a family or a relationship, even when the possibility of castigation or violence becomes acute, Ifeakandu’s characters keep searching for and celebrating every moment of love and euphoria they can find. A collection that will keep tugging on you long after you finish. —Anna Weber, White Whale Bookstore
Depictions of love in ever-present tension with the social and cultural expectations of urban Nigeria… my heart ached for the characters in this collection. There’s so much fear, and so much desire in so many of these men. Being free is an intoxicating drug, held just out of reach for so many of them, and there can be safety in subterfuge, but often at the cost of estrangement from oneself. This book is so good. —Danielle King, Left Bank Books