31. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

by Lola Shoneyin

Another fiction debut.  Lots of good first time novelists this year, don’t you think?

Set in modern day Nigeria, this book is about the secrets that Baba Segi’s wives are keeping, as the titles suggest.  Baba Segi is a well to do man with a 3 wives and 7 children.  Iya Segi is his first wife and therefore the head of the household.  Iya Tope is his second wife, a shy, fearful woman.  Iya Femi is his third wife, who blends into the house but has motives of her own.  The introduction of the fourth wife, Bolanle into the family unlocks the secrets kept by the other wives and threatens to destroy the whole family unit.

The story is told mostly through the voices of each of the wives as they lay out how each came to be married to Baba Segi (not necessarily the type of man to draw hoards of women to him).  Their stories are interesting and complex, most notably when their choice of polygamy crashes against the more modern practices of the world around him.  Loved it.

Sidenote: Lola Shoneyin is the daughter-in-law of Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka

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