I am SO excited about today’s post. You may have noticed on the good old Twitter that I am taking part in a blog tour this week. The lovely folk from The Little Contemporary Corner are hosting a tour for the wonderful A Change is Gonna Come. It’s a phenomenal collection of short stories and poetry from BAME writers. They’re all themed around the idea of change, though there is plenty of variety in the topics covered. I’ve read my way through most of the book by now and I am really enjoying it; it’s been great to be introduced to some new authors, who are phenomenally talented.
But as much as I’m loving the whole book right now, I’m here to talk to you about one story in particular: Dear Asha by Mary Bello. This was a fantastic short story, about loss and family and new starts.
When Asha’s mother dies, she doesn’t know what will happen next. She is alone and grieving. When she visits Nigeria, her mother’s birthplace, she meets a family she never really knew. With her aunt at her side, she discovers the country her mother loved so much and a few secrets too. Although she misses her mother terribly, she begins to realise just how much of the world she has to discover, even if she now has to do it without her mother at her side.
Although the story was undoubtedly sad, I loved the way that Mary Bello handled grief and the stages immediately after it. It was also wonderful to get to experience Nigeria as Asha does. It isn’t somewhere I have ever been and I am woefully uneducated on everyday life there so I relished the description of Asha exploring her mother’s birthplace. It sounds like a vibrant place and one that I think I would like to experience for myself one day. Bello’s descriptions were so rich that I almost found myself transported amongst the culture and tantalising sounding food! This was the real strength of the piece for me; Dear Asha really showed just how good this writer is at crafting an image in a reader’s mind.
If you couldn’t tell, I loved this short story and I’m looking forward to reading more by Mary Bello as soon as I can.
P.S You can find a copy of the book here (this is an affiliate link).