Say You're One of Them - Uwem Akpan Uwem Akpan is a Nigerian priest. This is a collection of five stories about children in various African countries coping with the brutal realities of their situations. The first three stories, harrowing though they are, preserve some sense of hope. The children preserve some sense of innocence, finding moments of play and happiness, and the adults are not irredeemably bad. The final two stories, however, appear to give in wholly to despair. "My Parents' Bedroom," the final story, in particular. It takes place during the Rwandan genocide and recounts how the narrator's father, a Hutu, is forced to murder his wife, a Tutsi, to save himself and his children from the unreasoning mob, including his brother who's also killed his Tutsi wife.

Looking back over the stories, I can see an arc from the first ("Ex-Mas Feast") to the last, where whatever good is to be found in Man is crowded out by its irrationality. Macabrely, "Ex-Mas Feast" is an almost light-hearted look at a family coping with extreme, grinding poverty compared to "My Parents' Bedroom."

Uwem Akpan is a very interesting writer and I'll be putting him on my "Authors to Watch For" list.