... a cluster of 10 dazzling stories that are as diverse as they are vibrant ... Nkweti ensures that no two tales are alike, regardless of their thematic connective tissue ... Even beyond the variety of subject matter, Nkweti displays her virtuosity and elasticity through her prose. With the ease of a master, she shifts between points of view, between American and African slang, and between the straightforward and the avant-garde. Each story offers not only a different subject but also a different approach, a new plan of narrative attack to conquer each emotional landscape. The result is an intense, sweeping and altogether stunning reading experience.
Nkweti makes an auspicious debut with this story collection, whose roving, voracious energy is sure to dazzle readers. Plucking from such genres as mystery, horror, satire, myth, realism, and even graphic novels to spin her tales, Nkweti’s sure hand on her characters never falters, traversing over the lands of Cameroon and America with the aplomb of a writer well into a celebrated career.
... walks an impressive tightrope between laugh-out-loud comedy and breathtaking profundity ... Nkweti does not translate the French or Cameroonian phrases peppered throughout the collection, adding to the reading adventure ... Nkweti executes this back and forth between cultures with exquisite skill, remaining just far enough outside each culture to make keen observations, delivering finely observed detail with a wicked sense of humor ... A linguistic pole vaulter, Nkweti bends language like a master. Readers will enjoy her frequent, unique plays on words ... Nkweti hovers at the edge of pop culture, familiar with its highs and lows, as well as its pervasive impact on contemporary life ... It Just Kills You Inside was the one story that I felt struggled to stay within its boundaries. It was well constructed, and like all Nkweti's stories, fiendishly clever, but I couldn't help wondering if this story wanted to grow into a novel ... This is a minor complaint, however, in a collection that is piquant with witticisms and remarkable, innovative prose. Walking on Cowrie Shells is a terrific read, each story different and varied from the one before. Nkweti has proven herself a bright new star. I, for one, cannot wait to read what she writes next.