A Kind of Madness (Paperback)

A Kind of Madness By Uche Okonkwo Cover Image

A Kind of Madness (Paperback)

$16.95


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“Steady-handed and gut-punching. I’m in awe.”—NoViolet Bulawayo


An Oprah Daily Most Anticipated Book of 2024


A searing, unflinching collection of stories set in Nigeria that explores themes of community expectations, familial strife, and the struggle for survival.


A teenage girl from a poor family is dazzled by her rich, vivacious friend, but as the friend’s behavior grows unstable and dangerous, she must decide whether to cover for her or risk telling the truth to get her the help she needs. A young woman and her mother bask in the envy of their neighbors when the woman receives an offer of marriage from the family of a doctor living in Belgium—though when the offer fails to materialize, that envy threatens to turn vicious, pitting them both against their community. And a lonely daughter finds herself wandering a village in eastern Nigeria in an ill-fated quest, struggling to come to terms with her mother’s mental illness.



In ten vivid, evocative stories set in contemporary Nigeria, Uche Okonkwo’s A Kind of Madness unravels the tensions between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, best friends, siblings, and more, marking the arrival of an extraordinary new talent in fiction and inviting us all to consider the question: why is it that the people and places we hold closest are so often the ones that drive us to madness?
Uche Okonkwo’s stories have been published in A Public Space, One Story, the Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, and Lagos Noir, among others. A former Bernard O’Keefe Scholar at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and resident at Art Omi, she is a recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship at Phillips Exeter Academy, a Steinbeck Fellowship, and an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. Okonkwo grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and is currently pursuing a creative writing PhD at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Product Details ISBN: 9781959030386
ISBN-10: 1959030388
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: April 16th, 2024
Pages: 224
Language: English
This debut short-story collection features 10 stories set in present-day Nigeria, all concerned with madness—both the literal madness of mental illness as well as the unruliness of outsize emotions like envy, shame, and desire.
— Oprah Daily, A Most Anticipated Book of 2024

Okonkwo has a Chekhovian eye for the tangle of internal motivations and assumptions that steer her characters. . . .Readers will be eager for more of Okonkwo’s artful writing.
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Surprising, illuminating, and deeply human.
— Booklist

Vivid. . . .  In addition to striking a perfect balance between humor and heartbreak, A Kind of Madness shows incredible wiseness on the complexity and at times maddening nature of loving our family, our friends, and our home.

— Chicago Review of Books, A Best Book of April

Amazingly written characters in unforgettable settings. Okonkwo’s writing is transformative. 
— Debutiful, A Best Book of April

Steady-handed and gut-punching. I’m in awe of this mad collection, this necessary writer.
— NoViolet Bulawayo, author of Glory

Hilarious and heartbreaking. . . . A delightful debut.
— Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, author of A Girl is a Body of Water

Uche Okonkwo's voice is absorbing. I was immersed in the familiar world of these tender, playfully haunting, darkly funny stories. Okonkwo is a writer to watch.
— Chinelo Okparanta, author of Harry Sylvester Bird

Touched my heart. Uche Okonkwo’s stories are among the very best.
— Sidik Fofana, author of Stories from the Tenants Downstairs

To read Uche Okonkwo’s A Kind of Madness is to have an experience: of complex characters grappling with life’s many troubles, of a robust culture, of history, of the battle between the domestic and the public, and all the big themes of life woven together. Like Jhumpa Lahiri, Okonkwo’s mastery of the form is as rich as some of the short story’s best practitioners and deserves every recognition it is sure to get.

— Chigozie Obioma, author of An Orchestra of Minorities

Uche Okonkwo's A Kind of Madness is full of vivid, unforgettable characters and rare insight. This is a book that pulls you in, with its fierce undertow, and once you start reading, you won't want to stop. Okonkwo is one of the most exciting young writers working today, and these stories are brilliant.

— Elliott Holt, author of You Are One of Them

Uche Okonkwo’s stories, set in contemporary Nigeria, have a gentle allure, drawing us into the intimate lives of characters and their worlds with elegant, assured prose and a deep understanding of the complex machinations of human manners and sentiment. A striking debut!
— Kwame Dawes, author of Sturge Town