It’s a story from the perspective of a young Nigerian woman, Korede, who spends a disproportionate amount of her life cleaning up blood, and it’s not just because she’s a nurse. She’s cleaning up after her sister, Ayoola, who is a serial killer – you’re a serial killer after number three, as Korede’s Google search shows her. Ayoola’s targets? Her boyfriends.
Though light, easy to read and funny in tone, it hits home on some really pertinent issues not only relevant to Nigeria, but the world over. Korede is an enabler and a bit of an obsessive cleaner, so she seems to manage her sisters’ inconvenient murderous habits pretty well until the point where Ayoola starts dating a doctor who Korede works with… and loves. Then the shit really hits the fan.
I was fortunate enough to hear Oyinkan Braithwaite read an extract from her book at this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, as it was shortlisted for the prize. It’s my first read of the shortlist, so I’ll have to get back to you on whether I think it was served an injustice by not winning. It was also longlisted for the Booker Prize, so if I can’t convince you, let the string of nominations do so. Her signed message in mine and Rosie’s copy: sisters b4 misters. The other two we bought were last year’s Man Booker winner, Milkman, and Women’s Prize for Fiction winner, An American Marriage. The others on the list (the mental rather than physical list, that is) are The Silence of the Girls and Circe.