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Dark Neighbourhood

Vanessa Onwuemezi author


Publisher:Fitzcarraldo Editions

Published:6th Oct '21


Available for immediate dispatch.

Dark Neighbourhood cover

In her brilliantly inventive debut collection, Vanessa Onwuemezi takes readers on a surreal and haunting journey through a landscape on the edge of time. At the border with another world, a line of people wait for the gates to open; on the floor of a lonely room, a Born Winner runs through his life's achievements and losses; in a suburban garden, a man witnesses a murder that pushes him out into the community. Struggling to realize the human ideals of love and freedom, the characters of Dark Neighbourhood roam instead the depths of alienation, loss and shame. With a detached eye and hallucinatory vision, they observe the worlds around them as the line between dream and reality dissolves and they themselves begin to fragment. Electrifying and heady, and written with a masterful lyrical precision, Dark Neighbourhood heralds the arrival of a strikingly original new voice in fiction.

‘Onwuemezi, who is also a poet, has said she thinks first of rhythm when she writes. When she deploys her considerable skill for sound and metre with purpose, the resulting lyricism makes for compelling reading...she has a rightful place in the tradition of surrealist, nihilistic writers such as Julio Cortázar, Jorge Luis Borges, Silvina Ocampo and Samanta Schweblin.... there are stories here that give shape to incoherence with a precision and style that is dazzling.’
— Baya Simons, Financial Times

‘[A] beautiful, vertiginous and enriching first collection ... there is a folkloric power in the way Onwuemezi combines clarity and mystery, evoked in a dramatic, memorable soundworld.’
— David Hayden, Guardian

‘Onwuemezi conjures nightmarish urban landscapes that swallow their protagonists. Each story in the book is like a window in an apartment block: lonely squares of light in the dark …The stakes are surreal but precipitously high, which is all that matters really. When you fall from the heights of heaven, you’ll hit the ground with a thud.’
— Susannah Goldsbrough, Telegraph

‘Vanessa Onwuemezi’s work makes legible the liminal spaces of contemporary existence: border-zones at once geopolitical, metaphysical and – above all – linguistic. She sends English off on a great line of flight, from which it returns as poetry.’
— Tom McCarthy, author of Satin Island

‘Onwuemezi is an exceptionally gifted writer. Her prose is bold, her vision singular. Unnervingly brilliant, Dark Neighbourhood is a phenomenally imaginative collection.’
— Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Checkout 19

Dark Neighbourhood is a thrill and a challenge. Vanessa Onwuemezi is her own thing, but reading her I experience the same exciting, destabilizing sense of the world being shown anew – being made anew – that I get from Silvina Ocampo, Clarice Lispector or Dambudzo Marechera.’
— Chris Power, author of A Lonely Man

‘Onwuemezi’s writing is a breath of fresh air. This collection is a marvel.’
— Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters

‘With stories of ambiguous embodiments, slick, mordant desires and warping cityscapes, Vanessa Onwuemezi's Dark Neighbourhood offers a new poetics of storytelling. Lyrical clarity combines with formal experimentation alongside hotching, grimaced, and dazzling world-building: a potent, portentous, truly original collection.’
— Eley Williams, author of The Liar's Dictionary

‘Every sentence in Vanessa Onwuemezi’s Dark Neighbourhood demands and deserves attention. Each story pulses and throbs with a precise and electric energy, yet there’s still so much space for her characters to explore the depths of themselves, and, in turn, ask the reader to do the same. Onwuemezi is a writer who approaches her craft with real rigour and care, and her voice is unlike any I’ve read.’
— Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of Open Water

  • Short-listed for BBC Short Story Award 2022 (UK)
  • Long-listed for Republic of Consciousness Prize 2022 (UK)
  • Long-listed for Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2022 (UK)

ISBN: 9781913097707

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

160 pages