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He lives in Victoria Island, Lagos. You can visit his blog or contact him via Facebook or Twitter by clicking the icons below; send an email to evanylaw yahoo. Your email address will not be published. Ake Arts and Book Festival A Protest against Jungle Justice in Nigeria. You may also like Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Presidential Aspirants Of To Follow. By Akwaowo Willie 21st September By Chinwe Opuruiche 14th September Apr 21, Sterlingcindysu rated it really liked it Shelves: Thanks to William Morrow for a copy!

I always feel sorry for men who have to handle alot of women in their lives and he's no exception. The women aren't portrayed as warm, loving, caring people. His fourth wife is someone who went to college, and just like Barb in Big Love, you wonder why an educated woman would agree to that. She actually unknowingly undoes the secrets of the other wives, yet it's because they don't trust her that she undoes them. Unusual setting, Thanks to William Morrow for a copy!

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives - Reimagined by Maimouna Jallow

Unusual setting, with enough explanation of customs so you know what's going on. I'm glad there was a family tree at the beginning to keep the children and mothers straight. Looking forward to more by Shoneyin. Jun 05, Samir Rawas Sarayji rated it really liked it Shelves: A compelling look at the lives of four women married to the same man and living under one roof.

Indeed, the power of the story is about the 'secrets' of these wives, namely their individual pasts, and on how these secrets will unravel to devastating effects. There's a lot to like in this fast novel, from cultural exposition to good writing, Shoneyin is a writer I would like to read more of. What I didn't like were the different narrators of each chapter with either first person POV or third pers A compelling look at the lives of four women married to the same man and living under one roof.

The first person perspective of each of the wives to narrate their backstory detracted from the overall strength. Still, Shoneyin pulled it off as best as one could, so kudos. Nov 26, Friederike Knabe rated it really liked it. Ishola Alao, known as Baba Segi, has a problem that upsets his stomach and general well-being. After two years of trying, his fourth wife still does not show any signs of being pregnant. He already has a stable of kids with his other wives, but what is the use of another marriage if it doesn't give him more offspring?

Furthermore, his young wife, "the graduate", has been creating unease and tension between his other wives. It is really beyond him to understand what the reason could be, given tha Ishola Alao, known as Baba Segi, has a problem that upsets his stomach and general well-being. It is really beyond him to understand what the reason could be, given that he is sharing his favours equally among the women.

Something has to be done about his "barren" wife and all else will sort itself out after that. Nigerian author Lola Shoneyin was a well-known poet and short story writer by the time her debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives , was published in It immediately won several awards and was also long listed for the Orange Prize.

As the title and my short introduction suggests, the novel takes an intimate look at a life in a polygamous family in modern Nigeria. Drawing on her own in-depth knowledge of the issues, Shoneyin writes with great confidence making this novel a very engaging and authentic read. She harmoniously combines humour and irony with empathy and sensitivity in her vivid depiction of the central characters and the circumstances they find themselves in. The reader is taken inside the complicated day-to-day of such living arrangements and, quite naturally, we also gain insights into the very difficult underlying societal issues of traditional gender relations and economic inequalities.

Bolanle, the young educated fourth wife is the central figure of this fast moving and highly absorbing tale: What is predictable is that her arrival does not go down well with the three established wives and mothers of Baba Segi's children. Iya Segi, the "mother of the household" has had until now a very good handle on everything and managed the second wife, Iya Tope, and the third, Iya Femi pretty well each named after her first-born child. Now with the intruder among them jealousy, insecurities, favouritism and disruption of their established group dynamics take over the daily life.

One expresses what the three feel: These educated types have thin skins; they are like pigeons. If we poke her with a stick, she will fly away and leave our home in peace. On her side, Bolanle does not really understand the inner workings of the household and adds to the difficulties. As readers we can appreciate their very different upbringing and circumstances that led them to marry into Baba Segi's household. We can even develop some empathy with Baba Segi himself, a man whose life has not been easy and has bound him deeply to the traditions of his social environment.

All in all a very satisfying read: View all 3 comments. Jun 05, B. Much of the novel is narrated by Bolanle, the last wife.


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Her entrance into the family causes turmoil above and beyond the usual upheaval that occurs when a new wife is taken, as it exposes a secret that will change the family forever. While the novel is set in an unfamiliar world, both geographically and culturally, the author makes you feel as though you know these people because the stories they live out and the emotions they display are common to people the world over. And because each of the women has a fully developed back-story that explains how they came to participate in the marriage, the reader easily understands why they act the way they do.

Apart from the fact that the characters seem to jump off the page, the machinations of the family are fascinating. In particular, the first wife, Iya Segi, is wickedly Machiavellian in her running of the household, although her attempt to insure her place of superiority amongst the wives ultimately ends in tragedy for her. In addition to the richly drawn characters, the author spins a gripping story that kept my attention throughout until the poignant ending. The characters from this book strike a quiet resonance with Indian women; a polygamist husband, complex polygamy dynamics, sexism, patriarchy, superstitious beliefs and a penchant to way of things that have long past deemed as, well, nonsense.

When the husband leaves the house, his four wives enter into a ring that operates on its own bunch of rules. There is petty jealousy, irrational need to oppress another human being, irresponsible hatred, marginalizing the new, religious reverence and unfou The characters from this book strike a quiet resonance with Indian women; a polygamist husband, complex polygamy dynamics, sexism, patriarchy, superstitious beliefs and a penchant to way of things that have long past deemed as, well, nonsense. There is petty jealousy, irrational need to oppress another human being, irresponsible hatred, marginalizing the new, religious reverence and unfounded fear for education.

The four women get entangled in a long drawn contrived battle for supremacy where the reward would be the adoration from the husband.

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While each wife tries to execute an agenda, there is an opposition, power struggle and devastating consequences. Shoneyin tightly packs her punches in the way her characters exhibit contrasts all through out the story. The characters aren't devoid of disenchantment as each have found that their path to freedom is in the house their husband has provided. Their individual story lies anywhere between sad and devastating, making their current predicament - a safe haven. Shoneyin's writing is earnest, raw, unsympathetic and bares the skin of her characters without making any apologies for the choices they make.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives | Arcola Theatre

A fantastic overview of a culture that is slowly adapting to the modernization that is taking place in their part of geography as the people still hold on to age old ideals and traditions at different degrees. May 05, Laura rated it liked it Shelves: The four wives' tales intertwine with that of Baba Segi, a Nigerian with four wives. The problem is that the fourth wife, Bolanle, has not conceived a child in two years of marriage, thus setting in motion the unraveling of the lives of everyone in the house.

The way in which this family lives will feel different, but having "Big Love" and "Sister Wives" on tv as well as a flood of Mormon polygamist books means that this isn't completely foreign. Jumping from character to character, we learn the The four wives' tales intertwine with that of Baba Segi, a Nigerian with four wives. Jumping from character to character, we learn the back story and motivations of the four wives and Baba Segi himself are not always upstanding or honorable.

It's entirely plausible that the wives don't get along well, and that there is plotting between them, but the degree is a little implausible. It's also imperative that you read the chapter titles to know which wife you're reading about, as it's not always clear from the writing the voices are too similar. The stories are engrossing, and the ending will surprise readers: Glimpses of Nigerian culture are woven in such a way as to not completely overwhelm the reader with the difference between these lives and our own.

Copy provided by publisher. Dec 12, N. Although of little relevance, I thought I needed to say that this story reminded me a bit of Su Tong's novella, Raise the Red Lantern, a story of a polygamous family in 's China, mainly due to the jealousy and rivalry between 3 wives against the 4th youngest one. The general pace of the novel is very good, starting off in a lighter tone and getting more serious in the second half, which shows excellent writing.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives review – a swaggering spectacular

The idea of having the the Point of View vary in the chapters among the wives is a Although of little relevance, I thought I needed to say that this story reminded me a bit of Su Tong's novella, Raise the Red Lantern, a story of a polygamous family in 's China, mainly due to the jealousy and rivalry between 3 wives against the 4th youngest one. The idea of having the the Point of View vary in the chapters among the wives is also a artistic literary device, but because the narrative style is similar, you don't know which wife is speaking in which chapter until you are about halfway though it, and to me this was a big flaw, and the author lost a star because of this in my rating.

The satirical caricature of the polygamist Baba Segi, was very amusing and served as a wry comment on male dominance in patriarchal cultures. All the characters are engaging and full of humor, wit, malice, spite, and even some charm as well. Sep 03, K. I somehow had the idea this was basically going to be comic or at least triumph-of-human-spirit in some way. JFC that was a savage book. It isn't because of Baba Segi either.

He's a gross and grossly sexist polygamist, squatting in his position of patriarchal privilege without question, but in fact he's harmed by the cultural milieu like everyone else, and in a weird way his house is a haven for the four horrendously abused sexually, physically or emotionally women he marries. He l I somehow had the idea this was basically going to be comic or at least triumph-of-human-spirit in some way.

He loves his kids, he loves his wives though without ever really considering them as equal humans with rights , he isn't habitually violent; this is a pretty damn low bar for 'decent human being' but in this book it's about as good as it gets. The backstory of each wife is a litany of the awful ways people treat each other and the damage done by poverty, patriarchy, religion, greed; the main story is honestly horrifying in its cruelty.

It is darkly funny, and brilliantly written in a way that brings all the voices of the story through, and it is unquestionably an excellent book. I suppose you could see the ending as partially happy for Bolanle, recovering from trauma, and the basically kind if useless Iya Tope, but the overwhelming sense I had was of Larkin's sentiment. Our past experiences play a role in shaping our identity and the choices we make. Oct 03, Fiona rated it really liked it Shelves: An unexpected book group hit!

This was really great, but suffers from a cover design by someone who saw the word "wives" in the title and "Nigeria" in the setting and did not go any further.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives

Plenty more to say about this, but also you should probably get hold of a copy. It is not fluff, however it might be marketed. It's matter-of-fact, is what it is. Dec 27, Anne rated it it was ok Shelves: Ok but there are some problems if you aren't into "eastern" literature. A very tenuous sense of place absolutely no real sense of Nigeria - could have happened in Pakistan! Did nothing to positively and evocatively demonstrate values within an "eastern" context which I have absolutely loved in other post colonial lit.

Made me visit India twice. Bit sensationalist underpinned by a didactic message. I like eastern lit so Ok but there are some problems if you aren't into "eastern" literature. I like eastern lit so okay for me but thinking for others it would be a two star book. Disappointing in many ways. If people liked this book there are so many with similar subject matter that are so much more authentic and poignant, really conveying how difficult it can be to turn against traditions that are also valuable.

View all 5 comments. May 29, NancyL Luckey rated it it was amazing. Although I can't imagine living in a polygamist situation, the lives of these women were completely believable. Absolutely nothing like it except for the talent of the author. Though you begin knowing Baba Segi and his wives as a whole family, each one has a complicated life leading up to this strange living situation.

I could not imagine why an educated modern woman would Although I can't imagine living in a polygamist situation, the lives of these women were completely believable. Ostensibly about polygamy in old Africa, it is a far more universal story of the shifting power-play inside a marriage and sexual envy between women. This adaptation by the award-winning writer Rotimi Babatunde captures the complicated gender dynamics: He does the same here, mercilessly sending up Baba Segi Patrice Naiambana as a crude buffoon.


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What makes the production so bold is its unabashedly physical treatment of sex: