Atlantic Books November 2018
Korede’s sister Ayoola is many things, the favourite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead, stabbed through the heart with Ayoola’s knife. Korede’s practicality is the sister’s saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood (bleach, bleach and more bleach), the best way to move a body (wrap it in sheets like a mummy), and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures to Instagram when she should be mourning her ‘missing’ boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
Koyede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.
A book I had seen all over Instagram and notable for its place on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2019 and a finalist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. At 226 pages this was a very quick read with short chapters in keeping with the witty and snappy writing. The synopsis tells you everything you need to know about the plot. The story is told from the perspective of Korede, a somewhat staid and plain character living in her sister’s shadow. Ayoola was born beautiful and favoured from birth, captivating to men, but with a lethal habit when it comes to her boyfriends.
Set in Lagos, this is a lively and fun read, despite it’s dark subject matter. An exploration of violence, family and loyalty, Korede finds herself compelled to keep her sister’s dark secret and indeed cover for her. For her part, Korede justifies her behaviour whilst moving swiftly on. Farcical at times and highly entertaining I enjoyed this book a lot. At times twisty, with some hints that leave the reader guessing, all may not be quite as it seems with these 2 sisters…
Deserving of its recognition and status, an original and quirky read which served to entertain. The cultural setting of Lagos added flavour to the already strong and sharp plot. I’m recommending it, for the joy of experiencing the deliciously dark humour. Have you read this book, what did you think?
About the Author
Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Kingston University London in creative writing and law. Following her degree, she worker as an assistant editor at Kachifo Limited, a Nigerian publishing house, and as a production manager at Ajapaworld, a children’s educational and entertainment company. She now works as a freelance writer and editor. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top-ten spoken word artist in Ekp Poetry Slam, and in 2016 she was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria.