The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives By Lola Shoneyin
Set in the clamorous household of Baba Segi, a larger than life character with a boisterous personality, who believes he is the master of his home and can marry any woman he desires. Ironically, he is the only one left in the dark about a family secret with the power to kill the pride of his manhood. The action in Lola Shoneyin’s narrative begins with Baba Segi’s decision to marry a fourth wife, Bolanle, a university graduate who is on a journey of self discovery after a horrific experience.
Bolanle’s arrival in Baba Segi’s house sees the other wives worried about the rationing of the days they can have sex with their husband. The fact the she is educated does not help matters either. Hence, the plan to get rid of her begins to take shape. As the plot thickens, we learn more about the other wives, Iya Segi, who wields her authority ruthlessly, Iya Femi, the marital terrorist and Iya Tope, a coward with a soft heart.
Narrated through the voice of Baba Segi and his wives, Shoneyin captures the essence of a riotous polygamous household from the African sensibility, specifically Nigeria with colourful characters. For a debut novel, you have to commend her ability to maintain a strong and fluid narrative with vivid descriptions and not once does the humour drop. A warm and captivating read, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives will make you laugh out loud in public.
About The Author: Lola Shoneyin has published three collections of poetry and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives is her debut novel.
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives is published by Serpent’s Tail, UK and Cassava Republic in Nigeria.
Lola Shoneyin: Habie Schwarz
Book Cover: Cassava Republic
This review first appeared in the New African Woman, summer edition.