‘Pemi Aguda opens her collection of twelve stories with the chilling tale of a woman who uncannily resembles her sinister, deceased grandmother. When the woman shows a capacity for deadly violence, she wonders–can evil be genetic, passed from generation to generation?
Set in Lagos, Nigeria, Aguda’s stories unfold against a spectral cityscape where the everyday business of living–the birth of a baby, a market visit, a conversation between mothers and daughters–is charged with an air of supernatural menace. In “Breastmilk” a new mother’s inability to lactate takes on preternatural overtones. In “24, Alhaji Williams Street” a mysterious disease wreaks havoc with frightening precision. In “The Hollow,” an architect stumbles on a vengeful house.
Evocative, strange, and yet familiar, “the speculative conceits of these stories are elegantly balanced with the gorgeous fullness of human emotion, all the hunger and longing and fear and delight of being a human in the world” (Lauren Groff).