Addis Ababa Noir
Published by: Akashic Books
Imprint: Akashic Books
Addis Ababa is a sprawling melting pot of cultures where rich and poor live side by side in relative harmony--until they don't.
"Several of the 14 stories here, most of them striking and accomplished, involve post-revolution loss, guilt and revenge. Some are surreal--fitting for a culture where, as Mengiste writes in her introduction, 'there are men who live in the mountains of Ethiopia and can turn into hyenas.'"
"While most stories told about or set in Africa deny the continent and the nearly 60 countries that constitute it narrative complexity, this anthology works overtime to get specific about the people and problems that define Addis Ababa."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
Maaza Mengiste’s story "Dust, Ash, Flight" has won the 2021 Edgar Award for Best Short Story, presented by the Mystery Writers of America!
"Addis is one of Africa's--and the world's--most vibrant, dynamic scene, and the new Akashic collection displays it in all its complexity. With acclaimed writer Maaza Mengiste at the editing helm, the book brings together an exciting collection of voices exploring the city's noir side. This is a chance for readers to discover an important literary scene and to explore a city's past and present."
--CrimeReads, One of the Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020
"Addis Ababa Noir is a beautiful read, and it succeeds in the historical excavation it undertakes...[It] is a powerful collection, carefully curated and plunging unexpected depths."
"[The book’s] strength is these writer’s unflinching approach to reality...The other major plus is the opportunity to discover many accomplished Ethiopian writers. A book to definitely explore.”
--Dispatches from Ethiopia
"A taut collection of thrilling stories that encompasses modes from the realistic to the uncanny."
--Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“Editor Maaza Mengiste takes the idea of Noir well beyond the well trod paths of crime stories. Mengiste’s vision of Noir embraces myth, memory and the paranormal.”
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, 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.
Brand-new stories by: Maaza Mengiste, Adam Reta, Mahtem Shiferraw, Linda Yohannes, Sulaiman Addonia, Meron Hadero, Mikael Awake, Lelissa Girma, Rebecca Fisseha, Solomon Hailemariam, Girma T. Fantaye, Teferi Nigussie Tafa, Hannah Giorgis, and Bewketu Seyoum.
From the introduction by Maaza Mengiste:
What marks life in Addis Ababa are the starkly different realities coexisting in one place. It's a growing city taking shape beneath the fraught weight of history, myth, and memory. It is a heady mix. It can also be disorienting, and it is in this space that the stories of Addis Ababa Noir reside...
These are not gentle stories. They cross into forbidden territories and traverse the damaged terrain of the human heart. The characters in these pages are complicated, worthy of our judgment as much as they somehow manage to elude it. The writers have each discovered their own ways to get us to lean in while forcing us to grit our teeth as we draw closer...
Despite the varied and distinct voices in these pages, no single book can contain all of the wonderful, intriguing, vexing complexities of Addis Ababa. But what you will read are stories by some of Ethiopia's most talented writers living in the country and abroad. Each of them considers the many ways that myth and truth and a country's dark edges come together to create something wholly original--and unsettling.
Table of Contents
Part I: Past Hauntings"Kind Stranger" by Meron Hadero (Lideta)
"A Double-Edged Inheritance" by Hannah Giorgis (Shiromeda)
"Ostrich" by Rebecca Fisseha (National Palace)
"Dust, Ash, Flight" by Maaza Mengiste (Mercato)
Part II: Translations of Grief
"Father Bread" by Mikael Awake (Kechené)
"The Blue Shadow" by Mahtem Shiferraw (Yerer Ber)
"A Night in Bela Sefer" by Sulaiman Addonia (Bela Sefer)
Part III: Madness Descends
"Insomnia" by Lelissa Girma (Haya Hulet)
"Of the Poet and the Café" by Girma T. Fantaye (Beherawi Theater)
"Under the Minibus Ceiling" by Bewketu Seyoum (Arat Kilo)
"Of Buns and Howls" by Adam Reta (Addis Ababa West)
Part IV: Police and Thieves
"Kebele ID" by Linda Yohannes (CMC)
"None of Your Business" by Solomon Hailemariam (French Legation)
"Agony of the Congested Heart" by Teferi Nigussie Tafa (Meskel Square)
“Booker Prize shortlistee Maaza Mengiste rounds up a brilliant cast of Ethiopian writers to ponder the dark underbelly of one of Africa’s oldest cities through page-turning crime stories guaranteed to keep your pulse thumping.”
--Brittle Paper, One of 50 Notable African Books of 2020
"The 14 stories in the collection give one a snapshot of Ethiopian writers, new and established, and of what they can do. It makes one scramble for more of their work. Mengiste and Akashic have done us a service by putting together this intriguing collection."
--New York Journal of Books
Included in African Book Addict's 2020 New Releases Preview
"The standouts ensure evocative glimpses into a bustling, multi-ethnic, multilingual metropolis few in the West will have visited."
--Shelf Awareness for Readers
"Novelist Mengiste presents 14 stories showcasing Ethiopia's capital at its darkest...A nice variety of bad behavior. East, West: Noir's best."
"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."
“The stories vary in style, each author morphing their personal philosophies and versions of Ethiopian noir into their fiction.”
--What’s Out! Addis