Dark Neighbourhood

English language

Published March 10, 2021 by Fitzcarraldo Editions.

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3 stars (3 reviews)

1 edition

Brilliant, inconsistent

3 stars

Any collection of short stories is bound to have some favourites and some less so. Just so with Dark Neighbourhood by Vanessa Onwuemezi.

Flashes of utter brilliance are clear in the title story and its apocalyptic undertones, and the weird tale of animalistic murder solving in Green Afternoon. The others mostly fail to live up to the better ones, with a little too much TV-style violent-drama in the tales for my taste. Definitely more than enough evidence here of an excellent, unorthodox voice to try more by Onwuemezi though.

Review of 'Dark Neighbourhood' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

If I had more hair it would be blown back. What a collection of daring prose! The risks Onwuemezi allows herself are inspirational. And this feels like a debut in all the best ways. She sets down a voice and style in the titular story (my favorite of the bunch) and then proceeds to explore the limits and range of that style throughout the collection. I think she finds some edges. There are moments in some of these stories that feel contrived, or if that isn't the right word maybe "an ineffective style to convey the emotional depths she aims for" is a better, if harsher, phrase. I don't think that's a knock, by the way. You can't take the kinds of chances she does without missing a few times and the misses are always interesting here.

What I can say is that I am excited about Vanessa Onwuemezi. A …


  • English literature