Winner of the 2020 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing and the 2021 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, Ethiopian American author Meron Hadero’s short stories offer narratives of those whose lives have been marked by border crossings and the risk of displacement.
... full of surprises. With stories set in Berlin and Iowa, Los Angeles and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Hadero establishes her willingness to be an insider for the outsiders ... there is that familiar sense of both belonging and not belonging to a place, but Hadero doesn’t belabor this point. People must land somewhere, and she shows us how her characters negotiate impermanence, how people find a way ... In these stories, there are refugees and more privileged immigrants; there is murder, humor and a multiplicity of voices that highlight Hadero’s talent to inhabit and translate. But most noticeably, there is Hadero’s unusual and remarkable tenderness. She is gentle with her characters’ lives ... It is the dignity that makes this collection a stunner ... As in all collections there are stories that don’t quite fit, but what is fiction if not an imperfect light reflecting the complexities of humanity? And as I sit in the darkness of a rain forest, feeling transported and far less alone, I am reminded that a little light goes a long way.
... superb ... Although she's concerned with specific geographies, Hadero creates a remarkable universal resonance, exquisitely illuminating quotidian moments that could, and do, happen anywhere in the world where people long to belong, find community, and be welcomed (even when they’re not) ... In numerous stories, Hadero deftly examines what it means to be Black in America, especially as a transplant from another country ... In other stories, Hadero empathically and expertly explores living between cultures and countries ... From narrative to narrative, Hadero is a wondrously agile writer, whether describing moments of triumphant anticipation; shocking devastation; rightful contentment. Hadero’s prodigious storytelling is part testimony, part warning, part balm.