The Condom and Other Stories by Peter Chika

4/5 Stars. An accomplished collection of short stories.

I enjoyed this book of short stories. It is a vignette of life stories from an African perspective that I found thoroughly engaging and fascinating.

I have always told myself I am not much of a fan of short stories but I realise it is more anthologies. The various writing styles in anthologies I find a bit of a lottery. Like a packet of Revell’s, there are some good and some bad but always a coffee in the bag somewhere to be avoided. With this offering from Peter Chika I did not have that worry, I knew from the first story I was in safe hands.  

The writing is accomplished and each tale distinctive and unique. The dialogue and self-reflection of some of the characters I found brilliantly entertaining. There are some great twists as well in many of the stories but also a few that were a bit abrupt. Also, some of the tales I thought were grim rather than humourous and one was an uncomfortable read, at least at the end. That is not a bad thing per se, it is great to be challenged and have to see or think about things through a different prism and that was certainly the case for me. However, someone looking for a light-hearted read will probably find this offering a little darker than they were expecting. 

Overall, an entertaining and thought-provoking read (at least to my sensibilities) and I recommend taking a look inside. The first story is a great showcase with a twist I didn’t see coming and it gives an excellent taster of what else is to come. If you like it you will love this book.

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