Thursday, 21 December 2006

Mohammed Naseehu Ali.

By way of the Underrated Writers of 2006 project at Syntax of Things, I have discovered a wonderful writer which I would like to expose you to.

Mohammed Naseehu Ali, a Ghana-born writer living in Brooklyn, writes stories that are full of wit and allegorical complexities, yet are simple to read. The language he employs makes his prose a delight to read and the characters he deploys are a strange oxymoronic combination of unreal and normalcy.

Zongo Street, a fictional small African community where his stories usually take place, are described in detail and are steeped in African culture and religion, evoking the smells, the sounds and even the dust, resulting in deeply immersive stories that are rich with atmosphere and humanness.

For a taste of what he's capable of, I suggest reading his short stories, "Mallam Sile" in the New Yorker, and "The Manhood Test", in Gathering of the Tribes.

"Mallam Sile" is a story about a tea stall owner who suffers from dwarfism, poor eyesight, deformations in his feet, and the ability to only speak a smattering of the local dialect in Zongo Street. Though he is liked by the community, he is constantly bullied by the neighbourhood ruffians. He is also lonely and hopes to find a woman to marry one day... but who will marry an ugly dwarf like him?

"The Manhood Test" is a humourous story about a man who is facing a divorce by his wife who complains that he cannot fulfill her desires. To prove his manhood, he is forced to sleep with his wife in front of a court-approved invigilator.

Mohammed Naseehu Ali also has a collection of his stories out called, The Prophet of Zongo Street. For more on Mohammed Naseehu Ali, check out the interview on AfroToronto.


  1. I took a look at the list. I recommend Trevor Cole and Kenneth J. Harvey.

    And myself, of course.

    I don't think ECW is available in Malaysia. Might be able to order online.

  2. The local bookstores here have been quite resourceful in the past so I'll wait and see. There's still a chance that Shelf Monkey will make it to Malaysian... er... shelves :p I'll save ordering online as a last resort. Mailing costs to Malaysia can be very cost prohibitive!

    btw, thanks for the suggestions! I shall definitely check them out.

    Thanks for dropping my blog!

  3. Thanks so much for this post. His work sounds great and I love short story collections.

  4. I'm sure you'll like his book, Winnie!

  5. Please Whats is the theme of the manhoodtest?


Currently Available E-Books

Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo
Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo
Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Nook