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A Kind of Madness: Stories
Uche Okonkwo


“Steady-handed and gut-punching. I’m in awe.”—NoViolet Bulawayo

An Oprah Daily Most Anticipated Book of 2024

In ten vivid, evocative stories set in contemporary Nigeria, Uche Okonkwo’s extraordinary debut asks: why are the people and places we hold closest so often the ones that drive us to madness?

A teenage girl from a poor family is dazzled by her rich, vivacious friend, but as the friend’s behavior grows unstable and dangerous, she must decide whether to cover for her or risk telling the truth to get her the help she needs. A young woman and her mother bask in the envy of their neighbors when the woman receives an offer of marriage from the family of a doctor living in Belgium—though when the offer fails to materialize, that envy threatens to turn vicious, pitting them both against their community. And a lonely daughter finds herself wandering a village in eastern Nigeria in an ill-fated quest, struggling to come to terms with her mother’s mental illness.

Across ten stories, Uche Okonkwo’s A Kind of Madness unravels the tensions between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, best friends, siblings, and more, marking the arrival of an extraordinary new talent in fiction.


Uche Okonkwo’s stories have been published in A Public SpaceOne Story, the Kenyon ReviewPloughsharesThe Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, and Lagos Noir, among others. A former Bernard O’Keefe Scholar at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and resident at Art Omi, she is a recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship at Phillips Exeter Academy, a Steinbeck Fellowship, and an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. Okonkwo grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and is currently pursuing a creative writing PhD at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln


"This debut short-story collection features 10 stories set in present-day Nigeria, all concerned with madness—both the literal madness of mental illness as well as the unruliness of outsize emotions like envy, shame, and desire." -- Oprah Daily, A Most Anticipated Book of 2024

"Okonkwo has a Chekhovian eye for the tangle of internal motivations and assumptions that steer her characters. . . .Readers will be eager for more of Okonkwo’s artful writing." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Surprising, illuminating, and deeply human." -- Booklist

"Vivid. . . . In addition to striking a perfect balance between humor and heartbreak, A Kind of Madness shows incredible wiseness on the complexity and at times maddening nature of loving our family, our friends, and our home.” -- Chicago Review of Books, A Best Book of April

"Amazingly written characters in unforgettable settings. Okonkwo’s writing is transformative". -- Debutiful, A Best Book of April

[P]  Tin House Books  /  April 16, 2024

0.64" H x 8.52" L x 5.57" W (0.53 lbs) 224 pages