... 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.
... sharp-eyed ... From the crowded streets of Addis Ababa to the basketball courts of Brooklyn, Hadero--who was born in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. as a child refugee--explores displacement, immigration, the plight of refugees and the deeply human longing for home and community. Told with fierce honesty and compassion, Madero's collection lives up to its title, providing a flavorful, nourishing feast.
A full range of stylistic approaches is on display in these stories ... Hadero's writing derives great power from her nuanced references to Ethiopia's anguished history, including the atrocities of the Derg military junta ... Entertaining and affecting stories with a deft lightness of touch.
Hadero delivers in her illuminating debut collection a series of nuanced perspectives on immigration ... Hadero excels at creating small moments with high stakes such as these, investigating the minefield of interrelations and frictions her characters face amid competing cultural imperatives ... Hadero achingly shows how her characters attempt to communicate their regrets, sorrows, and dreams. This assured debut is well worth a look.