Happiness, Like Water: Stories by Chinelo Okparanta
In this brave debut collection, Chinelo Okparanta introduces us to families burdened equally by the past and the future. High expectations - whether of success in Nigeria, or the dream of opportunity and accomplishment in America - consume them.
This is deceptive, for the plots in Happiness, Like Water are heated where the prose is not. A woman waits with a gun pointed at her head as a thief commands her husband to hand over his beloved Peugeot, suddenly aware that the car is worth more to her husband than her life; a spinster plans to murder a pregnant friend and steal her unborn child; a virginal college student, desperate to send her ailing mother to a private hospital, agrees to go out with a rich “patron,” deluding herself that all he wants is a pretty date who can “discuss budget and political issues.”