The Bookwoman Summer 2015 issue (Scroll to the bottom of this link for an interview)
“The book is a lyrical, sympathetic look at the kind of people often overlooked in literary fiction. Quirky characters abound in a collection of stories that you will read nowhere else. Alternately laugh-out-loud funny and deeply moving, all are brought vividly to life, as is the great city of New Orleans.” Rhona Whitty, editor, The Bookwoman, Women’s National Book Association newsletter Summer 2015
The Story Circle Book Reviews: By, For and About Women (Review by Trilla Pando)
"...when I stepped into this same neighborhood and met Achille, Loutie, Sister Michael Patrick, Sweet Pea and the other characters created by Fatima Shaik, I quickly became part of the community. These folks became my friends. I cared about them and continue to now that the book is closed and on my shelf."
The Crescent City is famed for its music (African), its cuisine (Gallic), and its architecture (Hispanic). There is no place remotely like it in the rest of America, particularly in its defining quality: as an endlessly impoverished place that nonetheless doggedly celebrates everyday life. That’s the city portrayed in Shaik’s new short story collection. It is usually summertime in her underbelly city, blast furnace hot, a season devoid of festivals, conventions, and tour buses. This city is populated by poor blacks and Creoles who couldn’t afford to leave town even if they wanted to (and after many generations in the bayous, they don’t want to). They work blue-collar jobs, when they can find them. Their air-conditioning is open windows, shady trees, or fishing trips. Their entertainment is stoop-sitting, family picnics, and endless conversations. The characters in these 14 stories are a motley assortment of damaged souls, among them an aged trumpeter, a mute daughter, a polio survivor, a self-styled parson. They may sound like a sad lot, but Shaik treats them tenderly and makes sure they’re more than that. Her characters, oddballs in a city replete with them, usually have friends and relatives to tend them. Poor in the usual ways, these residents of the Ninth and Seventh Wards have vibrant social lives that many a lonely Manhattanite might envy.