A product of contemplation; a thought: "an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas).
Today I would like to welcome Author Irenosen Okojie to the blog she has written a novel called Butterfly Fish. It is her short story collection Speak Gigantular that she is here to talk about. Below are the details of the book which is released on 15th September by Jacaranda Books. Irenosen has also given us Five Reasons to read it. Welcome to the blog Irenosen and thanks for visiting...
A startling debut short story collection from one of Britain's rising literary stars. These stories are captivating, erotic, enigmatic and disturbing. Irenosen Okojie's gift is in her understated humour, her light touch, her razor-sharp assessment of the best and worst of humankind, and her unflinching gaze into the darkest corners of the human experience. In these stories Okojie creates worlds where lovelorn aliens abduct innocent coffee shop waitresses, where the London Underground is inhabited by the ghosts of errant Londoners caught between here and the hereafter, where insensitive men cheat on their mistresses and can only muster enough interest to fall for one-dimensional poster girls and where brave young women attempt to be erotically empowered at their own peril.Sexy, serious and at times downright disturbing, this brilliant collection sizzles with originality.
Five Reasons To Pick up Speak Gigantular
By Irenosen Okojie
There’s a boy who has a tail who has a mother that doesn’t know how he got the tail. There’s a man who struggles with feeling invisible so he commits bank robberies dressed in a chicken suit. There’s a woman who seeks intimacy with strangers, she has a pet from an escalator that refuses to leave. There’s the woman who faces a series of interruptions that look like her. There’s the lost girl chasing her endings because we acquire so many and never know what to do with them.
Easily digestible but not necessarily always easy.
3. Expiry Date
These stories won’t expire. They’re weird, slanted and sly. Stories don’t have a sell by date. You pick up a collection. You read one story, you leave the book in your bag, let it breathe. You pay your electricity bill, have coffee with a friend, remind yourself you’ve run out of Hoisin sauce, to get some more. On the train, you read another story. Your chest is full of the story you read in the morning. You spend the journey home interpreting, reinterpreting. Afterwards, you buy a can of ginger beer. You bump into a homeless man who asks you for your sweet beer, who says he has nothing to offer in exchange. He tells you he slept in the local A&E’s hospital reception the night before. He thinks he knows your face.
And there is a story.
If you pick up this collection you’ll laugh. Perhaps not when you expect to, you’ll scratch your head, your chin and you’ll wonder because stories are like that. You can spend a few hours attempting to understand the breadth of them or a lifetime. They’re shape shifters whose fluctuating weight and meaning you cannot know unless you keep trying to. Like any collection, there’ll be some that strike you more than others. If I’m lucky, a couple that stay with you.
He told her, “Lately, I’ve developed a taste for eating uncooked food. The other day, I ate half a packet of sausages raw. I don’t know where this has come from or why I’m telling you.” She nodded because she understood the arrival of things you couldn’t explain.
This is an exchange between two characters in my collection of short stories Speak Gigantular. Pick up a copy if you want to know the context, or if you want to know and add your own.
Irenosen Okojie is a writer and Arts Project Manager. Her debut novel Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask award. Her work has been featured in The Observer, The Guardian, the BBC and the Huffington Post amongst other publications. Her short stories have been published internationally. She was presented at the London Short Story Festival by Ben Okri as a dynamic writing talent to watch and was featured in the Evening Standard Magazine as one of London’s exciting new authors. Her short story collection Speak Gigantular is out now, published by Jacaranda Books.