“A Broken People’s Playlist” by Chimeka Garricks is a collection of twelve deeply moving short stories that explore the core of the human experience – grief. Each story displays meticulous writing, leaving the reader emotionally bruised yet yearning for more. Garricks masterfully portrays characters who transcend mere character roles, but serve as representations of prevalent family and societal issues at large, such as loss – the unexpected loss of a loved one, through death, betrayal, or parting, directly or subtly, and existential angst.

What sets this collection apart is its inspiration – music. Each story is titled after a song that served as its muse, adding more depth and resonance. For instance, in “Lost Stars,” how a young woman deals with her loss of a childhood friend turned romantic interest, makes more sense with the music “Lost Stars” by Adam Levine playing in the background. 

Similarly, “In the City” paints a picture of gory ghetto life and the devaluation of human worth in a society plagued by anarchy. As you read, Brymo’s song of the same title evokes the same feelings in you. The same can be said for the other stories.

One of the collection’s standout features is Garricks’ seamless interconnection of stories. Unlike other short story collections that feel disjointed, “A Broken People’s Playlist” flows effortlessly from one story to the next, with characters intricately linked across narratives. The level of character development is remarkable, the characters have so much depth that it seems like Garricks settled down to draw a big tree that links the characters to other characters, for example, Kaniye, Damiye, and Priye, and how they turn up in other stories, mentioned, and are still instrumental characters to the stories.

Garricks’ narrative style is equally impressive, as he uses various perspectives ranging from intimate first-person accounts to the broader third-person point of view. This diversity adds to the richness of the stories and makes them even more compelling.

In conclusion, “A Broken People’s Playlist” is a literary gem that deserves a place on every bookshelf. For lovers of literary fiction, this collection is a must-read. I wholeheartedly rate it 5/5 stars.


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