Addis Ababa is a sprawling melting pot of cultures where rich and poor live side by side in relative harmony--until they don't.
Several of the 14 stories here, most of them striking and accomplished, involve post-revolution loss, guilt and revenge. Some are surreal--fitting for a culture where, as Mengiste writes in her introduction, 'there are men who live in the mountains of Ethiopia and can turn into hyenas.'
While most stories told about or set in Africa deny the continent and the nearly 60 countries that constitute it narrative complexity, this anthology works overtime to get specific about the people and problems that define Addis Ababa.
--Los Angeles Review of Books
Maaza Mengiste's story Dust, Ash, Flight has been nominated for the 2021 Edgar Award for Best Short Story, presented by the Mystery Writers of America
Addis is one of Africa's--and the world's--most vibrant, dynamic scene, and the new Akashic collection displays it in all its complexity. With acclaimed writer Maaza Mengiste at the editing helm, the book brings together an exciting collection of voices exploring the city's noir side. This is a chance for readers to discover an important literary scene and to explore a city's past and present.
--CrimeReads, One of the Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020
Addis Ababa Noir is a beautiful read, and it succeeds in the historical excavation it undertakes... It] is a powerful collection, carefully curated and plunging unexpected depths.
The book's] strength is these writer's unflinching approach to reality...The other major plus is the opportunity to discover many accomplished Ethiopian writers. A book to definitely explore."
--Dispatches from Ethiopia
A taut collection of thrilling stories that encompasses modes from the realistic to the uncanny.
--Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"Editor Maaza Mengiste takes the idea of Noir well beyond the well trod paths of crime stories. Mengiste's vision of Noir embraces myth, memory and the paranormal."
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.
Brand-new stories by: Maaza Mengiste, Adam Reta, Mahtem Shiferraw, Linda Yohannes, Sulaiman Addonia, Meron Hadero, Mikael Awake, Lelissa Girma, Rebecca Fisseha, Solomon Hailemariam, Girma T. Fantaye, Teferi Nigussie Tafa, Hannah Giorgis, and Bewketu Seyoum.
From the introduction by Maaza Mengiste:
What marks life in Addis Ababa are the starkly different realities coexisting in one place. It's a growing city taking shape beneath the fraught weight of history, myth, and memory. It is a heady mix. It can also be disorienting, and it is in this space that the stories of Addis Ababa Noir reside...
These are not gentle stories. They cross into forbidden territories and traverse the damaged terrain of the human heart. The characters in these pages are complicated, worthy of our judgment as much as they somehow manage to elude it. The writers have each discovered their own ways to get us to lean in while forcing us to grit our teeth as we draw closer...
Despite the varied and distinct voices in these pages, no single book can contain all of the wonderful, intriguing, vexing complexities of Addis Ababa. But what you will read are stories by some of Ethiopia's most talented writers living in the country and abroad. Each of them considers the many ways that myth and truth and a country's dark edges come together to create something wholly original--and unsettling.
About the Author
MAAZA MENGISTE is a novelist and essayist who was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Creative Capital. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion's Gaze, was selected by the Guardian as one of the ten best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and other publications. Her work can be found in the New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Granta, the Guardian, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places. She was a writer on the documentary projects Girl Rising and The Invisible City: Kakuma. Her second novel, The Shadow King, was published in September 2019.