A Broken People’s Playlist

(2 customer reviews)



A Broken People’s Playlist is a collection of short stories with underlying themes so beautifully woven that each story flows into the other seamlessly. From its poignant beginning in “Lost Stars” a story about love and it’s fleeting, transient nature to the gritty, raw musical prose encapsulated in “In The City”, a tale of survival set in the alleyways of the waterside. A Broken People’s Playlist is a mosaic of stories about living, loving and hurting through very familiar sounds, in very familiar ways and finding healing in the most unlikely places.

The stories are also part-homage and part-love letter to Port Harcourt (the city which most of them are set in). The prose is distinctive as it is concise and unapologetically Nigerian. And because the collection is infused with the magic of evocative storytelling, everyone is promised a story, a character, to move or haunt them.

About Author

Chimeka Garricks was born in Dublin, and raised in Port Harcourt (the city which, like all first loves, still inexplicably holds his heart). He is the author of the acclaimed novel, ‘Tomorrow Died Yesterday’. He started writing short stories, and eventually, ‘A Broken People’s Playlist’ to avoid working on his second novel. He would rather choose soundtracks for movies or be a DJ, but lawyering, and, erm, writing a second novel stand in his way. He lives with his wife and three children in Lagos.

2 reviews for A Broken People’s Playlist

  1. Rebel Reviewer

    A Broken People’s Playlist by Chimeka Garricks: A Review

    “We should play less chess and make love more”

    Chimeka Garrick’s intricate and hypnotic collection of short stories A Broken People’s Playlist harnesses the enchantment of music in this lyrical collection of short stories that focus on characters in contemporary Nigeria and their very modern battles with love, life, hurt and forgiveness.
    The theme we see from the beginning of the book woven throughout the narrative is loss. Unlike most other short story collections that are very different stand-alone stories cobbled together by a singular theme or location, the interconnectedness of the stories in A Broken People’s Playlist is so complex that one cannot shake the feeling that each story occurs almost simultaneously from different perspectives of people whose lives deeply intertwined. That, I think, is the best part of this collection.

    Each story is inspired from a song, the first story inspired by Adam Levine’s Lost Stars (A personal favorite) I was curious to see how well the song translated into prose. I wondered did the pace match, the lyrics as opposed to the plot, the emotion the songs evokes was it translated? When art transcends mediums important aspects can sometimes get lost in translation. So I was curious, I listened to each song from which the inspiration sprung before I read each story with a healthy amount of skepticism. Brethren, I was shocked… in a good way. Each story matched the song, pace, lyrics and emotion easily. To me, the best story out of the collection is “In The City” inspired by Brymo’s song of the same title. That is not to say that each story in this collection isn’t a gem.

    A Broken People’s Playlist is so easy to read. Though there is a wealth of characters, as there usually are with short story collections, each story is actually easy to follow. While some pack quite the emotional punch, they are the kind that leave you in a mellow version of your feels instead of ugly crying into a bottle of wine. It’s heartwarming in a way that slowly soothes away melancholia, like sliding into a gently steaming mug while it rains just outside the window.
    Set in Port Harcourt, the scenes are so vivid that even though one has never set foot in modern day PH City, the places sound familiar. You can almost smell the teeming waterside or get lost in the winding streets of Diobu. A Broken People’s Playlist is wildly successful as portraying Nigeria in the now not as a political hot-bed of religious tensions or a semi-warzone but as place where ordinary people live and that is refreshing. I have always thought our everyday stories are just as important as head-spinning political thrillers and A Broken People’s Playlist proves that.

    Of course as with all works of art it can’t all be great. I raised my eyebrows a few times at the female characters in the stories; they were mostly either angry, sad, both, terribly ill or just generally making some questionable life choices. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that modern females in Nigeria get by without all of that, perhaps we can also tell some of those stories? (Wild idea, I know.)
    Really that was my only grouse with this stellar piece of work. My faith is being slowly restored in Nigerian literary scene. Should you buy this book? Yes. Best time to read it? Basically anytime you need something soothing. This gets 4 out of 5 stars.

  2. Motunrayo

    ‘A Broken People’s Playlist’ started with the gut-punching story ‘Lost Stars’ - a beautiful love story that almost happened and ended it with gut-wrenching ‘You Suppose Know’ - a timeless love story and the redefinition of ‘family’. In between both stories, we are taken on beautiful journies of love, loss, relationship, forgiveness: self and others, and redemption(redemption even in death).

    The book paints love in an imperfect but beautifully broken way. Although the book didn’t set out to be funny, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud. Don’t be surprised if you also find yourself getting rueful. Even though each story was whole and complete stories by themselves, I loved the ingenious and ease Garricks wielded to connect some characters in some of the stories. Of course, the reoccurrence of locations and characters from ‘Tomorrow Died Yesterday’ (his debut) in this book is cheer creative brilliance!

    What I truly loved about the book are the characters. They are siblings, friends, spouses, significant others, doctors, and neighbors that we see in our everyday lives. They are relatable. They are human. I enjoyed the dialogues and the book is not pretentious. I also truly appreciated Garricks being intentional about writing in a foreign language(s) and not being apologetic about his choice by italicizing or interpreting the languages.

    Each story even though they are fictional stories (and not forced to give a lesson), will teach you a worthy life lesson. And if they don’t, they’ll give you something to at least smile and think about.

    I was excited to pick up this book. When I finished, I laid it down, with a huge smile on my face and a satisfied heart, I picked up my phone texted my best friend ‘I’ve finished the book and my heart is full.’ I went about my day smiling from the memories. When I got back home at night, I curled up and read it again. I’m sure I’ll be reading this book over (I read it twice already)and over again as I wait patiently (I’m lying about being patient) for Garricks’ next book.

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Additional information

Weight 0.55 lbs
Author: Chimeka Garricks