Title – A Broken People’s Playlist
Author – Chimeka Garricks
Publisher – Masobe Books
Published – June 8th, 2020.
A Broken People’s Playlist is a collection of short stories with underlying themes so beautifully woven that each story flows into the other seamlessly. From its poignant beginning in “Lost Stars” a story about love and it’s fleeting, transient nature to the gritty, raw musical prose encapsulated in “In The City”, a tale of survival set in the alleyways of the waterside. A Broken People’s Playlist is a mosaic of stories about living, loving and hurting through very familiar sounds, in very familiar ways and finding healing in the most unlikely places.
The stories are also part-homage and part-love letter to Port Harcourt (the city which most of them are set in). The prose is distinctive as it is concise and unapologetically Nigerian. And because the collection is infused with the magic of evocative storytelling, everyone is promised a story, a character, to move or haunt them.
To master the art of short story writing is a superb gift—one I’m still trying to move from novice, so reading the solid short stories in this collection is not only refreshing but inspiring.
As the title suggests “A Broken People’s Playlist” chapters are song titles, which prompted me to create a YouTube playlist featuring all the songs, to listen to each song after finishing its story to see how it influenced the writing.
There are twelve well-written stories in this collection, which all have an under theme of love—romantic, friendship and family. There’s a lot of tragedy featured in these stories, but as we all know tragic occurrences comes with living.
The stories I love the most in this collection are Songs for Someone, I Put a Spell on You & You Suppose Know. Songs for Someone, made me laugh because I also catch myself singing lyrics or remembering song titles when people speak some words, the major theme of the story backed with listening to the song by U2 humbled me and made me sorry for not giving its album—I got for free years ago, a chance.
I Put a Spell on You, made me laugh so hard, because of the desperate antics of both men and women, but it also made me sad at how flippant infidelity by men is treated, it’s so casual and they wear it like it’s something they should be proud of, make it make sense and then the women are supposed to forgive and put aside their hurt. Also, this story introduced me to Tonse, who I got to know better in three other stories.
You Suppose Know, is the last story and a wonderful story to end the book with, one where the different kinds of love shine through and warmed my soul.
I loved how some of the stories all interlinked, I loved catching on the fact. I agree with most people, Chimeka Garricks writing is really refreshing to read, the way the words weave and come together highlights how good of a storyteller he is.
His writing drew me into each story and demanded my attention—which all ended perfectly, none left me wanting. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I’m saving up all my kobos to acquire Tomorrow Died Yesterday as soon as possible.
About the Author
Chimeka Garricks was born in Dublin and raised in Port Harcourt (the city which, like all first loves, still inexplicably holds his heart). He is the author of the acclaimed novel, ‘Tomorrow Died Yesterday’. He started writing short stories, and eventually, ‘A Broken People’s Playlist’ to avoid working on his second novel. He would rather choose soundtracks for movies or be a DJ, but lawyering, and, erm, writing a second novel stand in his way. He lives with his wife and three children in Lagos.