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Francesca Angelini

Ayobami Adebayo is the latest impressive young writer to come out of Nigeria. Her debut novel focuses on a family breakdown in her politically tumultuous homeland. In 1985, Yejide, a smart and fiery graduate, returns to her home to find her in-laws foisting a second wife on her husband, Akin, Yejide’s penalty for not having produced children in four years of marriage. Yejide attacks Akin for reneging on his promise of monogamy, refuses to acknowledge the new wife, Funmi, and disrespects the elders. In the story as told alternately by Yejide and Akin years later, Funmi’s arrival heralds the disintegration of their once devoted marriage. Adebayo handles weighty themes with an absence of sentimentality and her prose is a pleasure: immediate, unpretentious and flecked with whip-smart Nigerian-English dialogue.

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Ayobami Adebayo is the latest impressive young writer to come out of Nigeria. Her debut novel focuses on a family breakdown in her politically tumultuous homeland. In 1985, Yejide, a smart and fiery graduate, returns to her home to find her in-laws foisting a second wife on her husband, Akin, Yejide’s penalty for not having produced children in four years of marriage. Yejide attacks Akin for reneging on his promise of monogamy, refuses to acknowledge the new wife, Funmi, and disrespects the elders. In the story as told alternately by Yejide and Akin years later, Funmi’s arrival heralds the disintegration of their once devoted marriage. Adebayo handles weighty themes with an absence of sentimentality and her prose is a pleasure: immediate, unpretentious and flecked with whip-smart Nigerian-English dialogue.

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