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Fourteen curated short stories set in ADDIS ABABA

13th July 2021

Addis Ababa Noir, short stories curated by Maaza Mengiste, set in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, first launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.

These are not gentle stories” says Maaz Mengiste, who curated these stories written by a variety of different authors. In Ethiopia there are over 80 languages and 200 plus dialects, which reflect its rich history and diversity.

The authors in this anthology extend a hand to you. Let them lead you down their streets and alleyways, into their characters’ homes and schools, and show you all the hidden corners, the secrets, and the lapsed realities that hover just above Addis that everyone else sees“. The military presence in the city is picked up in several stories

Ostrich is the story of a 6 year old child managing her sighting and subsequent horror of what turns out to be a dead body, spotted when she is accompanying her mother in a car driving down one of the main arteries in Addis. Her mother points out the ostriches lurking around in small clusters along the side of the road and tries to distract her from her consuming thoughts; she struggles with having seen the body and is upset by the fractious nature of her parents’ relationship.

A double-Edge Inheritance tells the story of a love affair with with consequences – it is sprinkled with local words, like ‘Yerkirta’ ‘ehitey’ ‘gabis’ and it would have been really useful to discover their meaning. In Father Bread a young boy is offered up for adoption and the American couple pay handsomely for the privilege, organised by a man – Abba Dabo – who is overriding the wishes of the child. Under the Minibus Ceiling brings to life a huddle of humanity, as the weyala collects the fares and a young man endeavours to chat up a woman.

Overall, this is a wonderful introduction – dark and creative, of course, at times – to this sprawling city of three million plus inhabitants, a real melting pot of cultures,

There is a nice chapter at the end detailing more about the contributors.

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You can also check out our review for Accra Noir

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