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Thursday, December 27, 2018

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Doubleday, 240 pages, $22.95

Set in contemporary Lagos, Nigeria, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel, “My Sister, the Serial Killer,” slams its way through to the end. Bam, bam, bam!

The book begins with Korede helping her sister, Ayoola (the serial killer of the title), clean up after her latest killing. Luckily, relatively speaking, Korede is an expert at cleaning up. She has supplies. She is a nurse. She has nurse wiles at cleaning up.

Soon after the body of Femi, Ayoola’s unlucky boyfriend, has been tipped into a river, she acquires her next admirer. She has no shortage of admirers. As Korede, the narrator of the book, ruefully observes, Ayoola is an extraordinary beauty and she, Korede, is plain. Their sisterly dynamics revolve around this point and often spin in centripetal furor. In Braithwaite’s excellently constructed story, pieces of the sisters’ past are slowly revealed.

One of the most moving scenes is when Korede first glimpses her new baby sister. Ayoola is like a doll and Korede gasps when the “doll” stirs. Forever after, Korede and Ayoola are bound.

MBTB star for great writing, careful construction, and a totally unexpected ending!

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