Exactly ten years since his debut, Tomorrow Died Yesterday, Chimeka Garricks has blessed us with his second work of literature, A Broken People’s Playlist. This collection of short stories is a gift that keeps on giving. This entire review is me, giving you reasons to pick up the book.
Category: Literary Fiction, Short Stories
Publisher: Masobe Books
Published: June 2020
Pages: 254, Paperback with flaps
A Broken People’s Playlist is a collection of short stories with underlying themes so beautifully woven that each story flows into the other seamlessly. From its poignant beginning in “Lost Stars” a story about love and it’s fleeting, transient nature to the gritty, raw musical prose encapsulated in “In The City”, a tale of survival set in the alleyways of the waterside. A Broken People’s Playlist is a mosaic of stories about living, loving, and hurting through very familiar sounds, in very familiar ways, and finding healing in the most unlikely places.
The stories are also part-homage and part-love letter to Port Harcourt (the city which most of them are set in). The prose is distinctive as it is concise and unapologetically Nigerian. And because the collection is infused with the magic of evocative storytelling, everyone is promised a story, a character, to move or haunt them.
Should You Read A Broken People’s Playlist?
The question is, would you be able to live with yourself if you don’t read this book? Just kidding. Of course, you will. Chimeka Garricks is one of the most underrated writers in Nigeria, if you’ve read his debut, you can confirm this. Tomorrow Died Yesterday is a contemporary story about the harsh realities and hardships caused by oil exploration in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. What made me a fan was the authenticity with which Garricks spun the story.
He brings that into this collection, but better. His writing has developed, and there is more flair as he switches POVs in different stories. Like fine wine. I loved the dialogue in his debut and this collection did not disappoint. The characters spoke in fluent, rich, and diverse Nigerian English. And I love that I didn’t find one typo in this book(not that I was looking).
Now, let’s talk about the theme of this collection. It’s titled A Broken People’s Playlist so I expected a lot of sad stories. I was not disappointed but the sadness didn’t last long. It wasn’t a lingering type of sadness, it came in waves mixed with joy and relief. Just like life is, you know? The stories mirror life and human experiences. I would have liked if not all relationships were heterosexual, it would have been nice to see how he would navigate it.
One more reason to pick up this book? It’s interactive. Each story is inspired by a song, so what I did was, read the story, and then listen to the song. You can try it vice versa but what a wholesome reading experience it was. I’ve heard that the writer is working on his second novel and I can’t wait to jump on that.
I’m officially a full member of the Chimeka Garricks appreciation club. Did you know he attended my book club, The Indulgent Bibliophile, BYOB hangout in 2019? You can read about it HERE.
About The Author
Chimeka Garricks was born in Dublin, and raised in Port Harcourt (the city which, like all first loves, still inexplicably holds his heart). He is the author of the acclaimed novel, ‘Tomorrow Died Yesterday’. He started writing short stories, and eventually, ‘A Broken People’s Playlist’ to avoid working on his second novel. He would rather choose soundtracks for movies or be a DJ, but lawyering, and, erm, writing a second novel stand in his way. He lives with his wife and three children in Lagos.
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