- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (2 Sept. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099523949
- ISBN-13: 978-0099523949
- Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
On Black Sisters' Street Paperback – 2 Sep 2010
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"An important and accomplished novel that leaves a strong aftertaste. Unigwe gives voice to those who are voiceless, fleshes out the stories of those who offer themselves as meat for sale, and bestows dignity on those who are stripped off it." (Independent)
"This powerful book will leave you haunted" (Ali Smith)
"On Black Sisters' Street is ultimately a story of female strength and resilience... the book draws on a rich oral story telling tradition to illuminate the West from an under-represented perspective" (Aesthetica)
"This harrowing subject matter is handled deftly by Unigwe, with lyrical insight and splashes of dark humour, in a book that is both thought-provoking and eye-opening" (Doug Johnstone The List)
"Lively and engaging...Unigwe has a good ear for idiosyncratic language...On Black Sisters' Street is a pleasure to read: fast-paced, lucidly structured and colourful" (Zoe Norridge TLS)
― New York Times Book Review
― Caryn James, More Magazine
― Kirkus Reviews
― Library Journal
― Publishers Weekly, starred review
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Top Customer Reviews
Sisi, Efe, Ama and Joyce alongside with their Madam who doesn't walk but barrels through rooms and spaces are the inhabitants of the flat on Zwartezusterstraat, which is the Black Sisters' Street in Dutch. Madam is a modern day 'Slaventreiber', a female pimp who has lost the spirit of compassion towards other human beings, especially black women. She is an excellent business woman though. Excellent in the marketing and selling of human bodies, preferably black female bodies. Ms Unigwe excellently tells of the lives of these women before Belgium and we eventually find out that they all, alongside with many other women have a common 'pimp' in Lagos Nigeria. When we see men or women of extreme wealth in Lagos and we do not see them sweat for it or go to a 9-5 job daily, we should beware.Read more ›
The characters were not very authentic either, Dele was completely out of character - a Yoruba man living in Lagos conversing in pidgin. Neither did it seem realistic either for Joyce/Alek to be so versatile in pidgin considering her character wasn't even Nigerian!
A lot of lines were overly exaggerated (seems common with a lot of African writers these days)
Overall, I think the story could have been told much better.
Unigwe has a habit of dropping spoilers into the middle of her own novel, telling you in the middle of the book what happens to certain characters years later, after the events of the main plot are over. This kills the tension a little, but then again this isn't really meant to be a standard murder thriller.
The perspective sticks closely to that of the four women, so we don't get much in the way of wider context, and it feels a little unbalanced in terms of the time spent exploring how their lives back in Africa forced them into accepting these jobs in Belgium, compared to what that new life in Europe is actually like and what it means to them. And the ending ties things up a little abruptly and I didn't feel like it ultimately had anything major to say about the issues it raises other than that it's sad and unfortunate and how much resilience and thick skin it takes to survive it.
Still, glad I read it.
I am well aware of the trafficking of women into wealthy countries (not just Europe) for the sex trade. This has gone on all over the world for probably as long as the world has existed. The women traded are usually from desperate situations either from poverty or war and are therefore vulnerable and easily exploited. They don't all get tricked into it, some go with their eyes open as to the 'work' that awaits them. However, few realise the slavery they have signed up to in repaying their pimps for the supposed 'opportunity' of a brave new life in a wealthy country. The majority are in the countries illegally and therefore have no protection and are totally at the mercy of those exploiting them. Many Eastern European suffer this fate within the UK, sometimes as total prisoners inside buildings. None of this is new. There have been many articles and documentaries covering these; complete with filmed interviews of the victims (often in silhouette to safeguard their identity) and their stories and backgrounds are heartbreaking. Those that control them are dangerous and think nothing of disposing of them at the drop of a hat, safe in the knowledge that nobody will expend much effort defending those that technically dont exist.
This is my point about this novel. It doesn't really show us much beyond what we should already know and in many ways shows us rather less.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At a house on Zwarterzusterstraat in Antwerp, four very different women gather to tell their stories. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amanda Jenkinson
started the book thinking I could predict the end and knew what happened but loved the twist, the beginning was abit hard to get into felt like a book on short stories; but the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Vivienne Ekpo
Loved this book. So captivating. You cry, laugh, are shocked. Great read.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Book was good, great attempt at telling the different stories of African women and their plight of trafficking, I found it really interesting and well written. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ms. Rachel Tension
Can't fault the content of the book, absolutely loved it and would highly recommend it to anyone. However, I was appalled to find out that when I got to the end of the book (the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer