Short Stories 366:95 — “The Future Looks Good,” by Lesley Nneka Arimah

coverHoly flying crap this story. Okay. First off, I bumped into this anthology thanks to the LeVar Burton Reads podcast reading of the titular story from the collection last month, and so I went out of my way to find the book—even better, it was available on audio—and snapped up a copy for myself. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky has twelve tales, and this first one, “The Future Looks Good,” knocked me reeling.

I don’t think I’ll be able to do the story justice in describing it narratively, but my weak effort will be this: in the space of a story, we begin with someone at a door who doesn’t know what is about to happen, and then we step back, shift away to some other people and learn about them: these lay a foundation that leads up to the moment we return to at the end of the tale, with this woman at the door, fumbling with keys unfamiliar to her, and completes the tale.

The journey, though. Turning points in the lives of parents-and-children, cruelties withstood, or loves found in the midst of horrible circumstances, and wisdom hard-won by the suffering that comes from the collapse of governments, and wars, and learning about true need through having to exist while needful… it’s all deftly spun into a single narrative with this funnel-like pattern: narrowing down person by person to where the tale ends. I already knew I was going to be captivated by this collection thanks to having been blown away by the titular story, but this opening tale cemented that impression.

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