A Broken People's Playlist

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A fresh, crackling, interlinked collection of short fiction, set among the denizens of Nigeria’s Port Harcourt and inspired by a playlist of beloved pop songs.

“Beautifully woven. . . . It’s a compelling format with little margin for error and which, if executed correctly, works to magnificent effect. Thankfully, Garricks is a supreme storyteller, and he manages to take us on an absorbing tour of joy and loss. Each of his tales is to be savoured; each concept has the depth of a novel . . . a magical delight.”—Hari Kunzru, author of White Tears

A Broken People’s Playlist is the soundtrack of life, comprised of twelve music-inspired tales about love, the human condition, micro-moments, and the search for meaning and sometimes, redemption. It is also Chimeka Garricks’s love letter to his native city, Port Harcourt, the setting of most of the stories.

In these loosely interlocked tales, Garricks introduces a cast of indelible characters. There is a teenage wannabe-DJ eager to play his first gig even as his family disastrously falls apart—who reappears many years later as an unhappy middle-aged man drunk-calling his ex-wife; a man who throws a living funeral for his dying brother; three friends who ponder penis captivus and one’s peculiar erectile dysfunction; a troubled woman who tries to find her peace-place in the world, helped by a headful of songs and a pot of ginger tea.

No matter how sad or dark, the tales in A Broken People’s Playlist brim with life-affirming humanity and empathy. Each character, despite their circumstances or deeds, is deserving of some kindness, forgiveness, and love. As Garrick explains, “I like to think that the stories are a strong reminder of what it means to be human, flawed, complicated, ugly-beautiful, sometimes doomed but mostly, hopeful for redemption.” Infused with the author’s resonant and evocative storytelling, each page holds “the depth of a novel” (Hari Kunzru); a character, a moment that will—like a favorite song—move and haunt us and long linger in the heart and mind.