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July 5, 2020
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A. Igoni Barrett

Love Is Power or Something Like ThatWhen it comes to love, things are not always what they seem. In contemporary Lagos, a young boy may pose as a woman online, and a maid may be suspected of sleeping with her employer and yet still become a young wife’s confidante. Men and women can be objects of fantasy, the subject of beery soliloquies. They can be trophies or status symbols. Or they can be overwhelming in their need.

In these wide-ranging stories, A. Igoni Barrett roams the streets with people from all stations of life. A man with acute halitosis navigates the chaos of the Lagos bus system. A minor policeman, full of the authority and corruption of his uniform, beats his wife. A family’s fortunes fall from love and wealth to infidelity and poverty as poor choices unfurl over three generations. With humor and tenderness, Barrett introduces us to an utterly modern Nigeria, where desire is a means to an end, and love is a power as real as money.

Praise for Love Is Power, or Something Like That

“While most of the nine stories in [Love Is Power, or Something Like That] have Nigeria as their backdrop, the emotional turbulence they capture should strike any reader as universal.” Publishers Weekly

“Barrett’s artful, unsparing, and unsentimental stories confirm the arrival of a major talent. The reader is plunged right into the dangerous and exciting heart of contemporary Nigerian life, and would rather be nowhere else.” —Teju Cole, author of Open City

“Love, life, revenge, survival, and compassion all figure in this bighearted, daring collection of stories from a gifted Nigerian writer. . . . Barrett shares as much with Raymond Carver or Amy Hempel as Chinua Achebe. . . . Electrifying tales of vibrant urban nights and acrid, desperate days.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Love Is Power, or Something Like That crackles with the chaotic energy of modern Nigeria.” —Roxane Gay, The Outlet: the Blog of Electric Literature

Read, I Want to Be a Book: On Becoming A Writer, by  A. Igoni Barrett at The Millions

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