Set in East Africa, the Middle East, Canada, and the U.S., Things Are Good Now examines the weight of the migrant experience on the human psyche. In these pages, women, men, and children who’ve crossed continents in search of a better life find themselves struggling with the chaos of displacement and the religious and cultural clashes they face in their new homes. A maid who travelled to the Middle East lured by the prospect of a well-paying job is trapped in the Syrian war. A female ex-freedom fighter immigrates to Canada only to be relegated to cleaning public washrooms and hospital sheets. A disillusioned civil servant struggles to come to grips with his lover’s imminent departure. A young Muslim Canadian woman who’d married her way to California to escape her devout family’s demands realizes she’s made a mistake.
The collection is about remorse and the power of memory, about the hardships of a post-9/11 reality that labels many as suspicious or dangerous because of their names or skin colour alone, but it’s also about hope and friendship and the intricacies of human relationships. Most importantly, it’s about the compromises we make to belong.
DJAMILA IBRAHIM was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved to Canada in 1990. Her stories have been shortlisted for the University of Toronto’s Penguin Random House Canada Student Award for Fiction and Briarpatch Magazine’s creative writing contest. She was formerly a senior advisor for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. She lives in Toronto.
PRAISE FOR DJAMILA IBRAHIM AND THINGS ARE GOOD NOW:
A 49th Shelf Book of the Year
“This is essential fiction for right now.” — Globe and Mail
“Poignant and thought-provoking . . . This collection of short stories is a great read that hits close to home.” — Richmond News
“Things Are Good Now is an insightful and imaginative debut; these skillful stories have stayed with me long after I stopped reading. This is a book that is as important as it is engaging.” — Zoe Whittall, author of The Best Kind of People
“Ibrahim writes with intensity and empathy, drawing believably complex characters who are understandably torn between bleak alternatives. Things Are Good Now feels fresh and raw and real. Amid the disheartening racism and sexism are the pull of patriotism, the solidity of traditionalism, and ultimately, mercifully, the power of even small glimpses of optimism.” — Toronto Star
“Things Are Good Now should be included on every to-be-read list. Each story is powerful and important, and each voice, while fictional, is a perfect representation of hard truths. These voices should be heard.” — This Magazine
“Abounds with literary promise . . . A worthwhile read for its intimate investigations of global unrest.” — Literary Review of Canada