cover image Addis Ababa Noir

Addis Ababa Noir

Edited by Maaza Mengiste. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61775-820-1

Few of the 14 stories in this solid Akashic noir anthology qualify as classic noir, but they all contain many of the classic elements such as desperation, greed, desire, and death. In Meron Hadero’s memorable “Kind Stranger,” the narrator literally trips over a stranger who’s lying on the ground at a construction site. The narrator sits down with the stranger, who proceeds to tell a fraught tale about a woman who rebuked his advances and how he took revenge on her during a time of political turmoil. Another strong entry is Girma T. Fantaye’s “Of the Poet and the Café,” in which a poet sets out to get rid of every copy of his one published book, only to find that it’s not just words that can be erased from the world. Solomon Hailemariam’s pointed “None of Your Business” examines life under a tyrannical regime where a simple school assignment can have dire consequences for one small boy and his family. Each contributor embraces day-to-day life in Ethiopia, and fills each story with a rich sense of time, place, and character. The authors reveal much about a culture unfamiliar to many American readers. (Aug.)