Book Review: This Hostel Life by Melatu Uche Okorie This Hostel Life: 9780349012902: Okorie, Melatu Uche: Books

Title: This Hostel Life

Author: Melatu Uche Okorie

Genre: Short Stories

Number of Pages: 112

Rating: B+

Recommended?: Yes

Even though it’s fiction, this book was very eye-opening and educational for me. It’s a collection made up of three very different stories about African culture and the immigrant experience. Apparently, immigrants in Ireland don’t have it much better than here in the states. The first story is about life in a crowded hostel, where occupants have to struggle to get food and medical care amid uncaring authorities.

The second one (probably the best) has a young woman in a book club writing about the horrific racism she’s experienced and being advised by white people to change the story. The third isn’t about immigrants at all, focusing instead of a woman in an African village where sets of twins are seen as cursed and killed soon after birth.

She has twins and becomes determined to rescue them, knowing the superstition is wrong and her sons are dying for nothing. Melatu Uche Okorie is a talented writer with a strong understanding of her characters’ emotions, and I’d definitely be interested in seeing future books from her (other than a short story in a collection, this seems to be her only work to date.) With a rich and evocative combination of anger and pathos, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this impressive collection.

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