This was one of my anticipated reads of 2018. My Sister, the Serial Killer is Braithwaite’s first novel. It has also been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize For Fiction 2019.
This caught me by surprise because I felt it wasn’t strong enough to make it but on second thought, I understand why it was included. It’s the same reason, Sabrina, a graphic novel was added to the ManBooker Prize longlist in 2018. Inclusion, people. Inclusion!
Essential Book Info
Category: Contemporary, Crime, Mystery
Publisher: Narrative Landscape
Published: October 2018
“My Sister The Serial Killer” Blurb
Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”
Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favourite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace.
She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, the bright spot in her life, begins to fall for Ayoola. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.
Should You Bother Reading “My Sister The Serial Killer”?
It tells the story of Ayoola through the eyes of her protective older sister Korede as she struggles to keep her sister’s murderous habit in check. By now, I’m sure we all know that crime fiction is my shit. The darker, the better so I was expecting horror because I know for a fact that a female serial killer would do more damage than the average. But I didn’t get that from this book.
It was very light and if I was to pair this with a cocktail, I’d recommend a mimosa. The story was entertaining, not too deep. Most people might demand an explanation for why the younger sister was a serial killer, but I don’t think that was not the mission of the story.
The bond of the sisters was the focus and the author delivered. I could relate to that bond, if Phattie, my baby sister, called me that she killed someone, I would get rid of the body, no questions asked.
The novel’s twist ending, which provides some background to the intricate relationship between Korede and Ayoola, helps alleviate some of the issues I had with the characterization of the protagonists and gives relief to the plot.
The story takes place in Lagos, and there’s plenty to remind us that we’re not reading another New York or London novel: pieces of Yoruba in the dialogue, descriptions of the characters’ clothes and the food they’re eating, etc. But, apart from those details, we don’t see much of the wider world the sisters live in.
That’s not a criticism – this is a novel about human relationships, not “The Nigerian Experience”, and one of its strengths is how strikingly universal it kinda feels. Despite this, “My Sister, The Serial Killer” is a strong debut by Braithwaite, an author who obviously understands her audience and writes evocative, but relatable prose.
Something I can guarantee the novel will do is, catch and keep your attention. I can’t wait to read your next book, Oyinkan
About The Author
Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo, the Lagos-based publishing house, and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since.
In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top-ten spoken-word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam, and in 2016 she was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria. My Sister, The Serial Killer is her debut novel.
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