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Fiction General

Perfect Little Angels

by (author) Vincent Anioke

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2024
General, Short Stories (single author), Gay, General, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price

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A beautifully imagined story collection set largely in Nigeria that explores themes of masculinity and repressed desires through the lens of (un)conditional love

In this stunning debut story collection set largely in Nigeria, questions abound: What happens when we fall short of society's - and our own - expectations? When our personal desires conflict with the duties we are bound to? The characters in Perfect Little Angels confront these dilemmas and more in these brilliantly imagined tales.

In a boarding school, tensions brew between students and vengeful staff. An addict seeks a fresh start in pottery class. A man returns home from university abroad with confessions that unravel his mother's world. Amid winter storms, a ghost delights her grief-stricken partner. And atop a hill surrounded by rot and garbage, two lovers dare to embark on a secret, dangerous romance. Human desires - for connection, salvation, and understanding - imbue these deeply Nigerian stories with universal resonance.

In Vincent Anioke's tenderly written stories, characters seek love in different permutations from teachers, parents, dead partners, and even God. Perfect Little Angels is a nuanced exploration of masculinity, religion, marginalization, suppressed queerness, and self-expression through the lens of (un)conditional love.

About the author

Vincent Anioke is a writer and software engineer born and raised in Nigeria and now living in Waterloo, Ontario. His short stories have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Rumpus, The Masters Review, and Passages North. He won the 2021 Austin Clarke Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the 2023 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers from the Writers' Trust of Canada. Perfect Little Angels is his first book.

Vincent Anioke's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Steeped in violence, family turmoil, and broken dreams, Perfect Little Angels captures the rawest of emotions in the finest of prose. This debut collection marks the arrival of a phenomenal talent. Vincent Anioke writes with an honesty rivalled only by his compassion, and I'm first in line for whatever he does next. -Jennifer Wortman, author of This. This. This. Is. Love. Love. Love.

In Perfect Little Angels, Vincent Anioke writes with candour and tenderness, deep humanity, and an exacting eye for the details that reveal the inner truths of our lives. He creates a rich and nuanced world, unveiling the dynamics and the emotional and psychological toll of societal and interpersonal brutality, and he breathes life and complexity into his characters - we feel for them, ache for them, and root for them, recognizing ourselves in their struggles for belonging, wholeness, and transcendence. These stories are searing and unforgettable. -Helen Elaine Lee, author of Pomegranate

Perfect Little Angels is a brilliant debut bookended by blood; Vincent Anioke's prose slices with the heft and certainty of a meat cleaver. Readers will hang on the fates of goats and the voices of lost family, while betrayal, shame, and circumstance enlace and entangle as characters' desires meet dogma. A vivid reminder of the danger, joy, and depth of love. -Derek Mascarenhas, author of Coconut Dreams and 100 Chapatis

Vincent Anioke's brilliant, harrowing short story collection Perfect Little Angels is populated by characters who are struggling, for the sake of those who in equal measure love them and judge them, to become someone else: someone with sanctioned desires. In these brutal, sad, funny stories, Anioke considers what culture demands from men and women and how to survive these demands intact. -Kim Magowan, author of How Far I've Come

The stories in Perfect Little Angels are, by turns, scathing, brilliant, and incredibly compelling. Anioke's characters wade through startling and at times violent circumstances with tender humanity; they grapple with the harsh consequences of unforgiving traditions and defiant desires. With striking lyricism and unexpected plot twists, Perfect Little Angels is deeply moving and thoroughly enjoyable. -francesca ekwuyasi, author of Butter Honey Pig Bread

Vincent Anioke has created such a compelling, memorable cast of characters in Perfect Little Angels, where the lines between victim and perpetrator are blurred and where surviving the stranglehold of a pietistic society is not always a given. Anioke is a masterful storyteller. -Christopher Allen, publisher of SmokeLong Quarterly

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