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My Sister, the Serial Killer: Longlisted for the Women's Prize 2019 Hardcover – 3 Jan 2019
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Feverishly hot - Paula Hawkins, author of 'The Girl on the Train'A sensational debut. - Observer, Debut's of 2019 Utterly addictive and a pure joy to read. - Stylist I'm loving My Sister, the Serial Killer... Lethally elegant. - Luke Jennings, author of Killing Eve: Codename Villanelle Pulpy, peppery and sinister... This scorpion-tailed little thriller leaves a response, and a sting, you will remember. - New York Times Delightfully naughty... The wittiest and most fun murder party you've ever been invited to. - Samantha Irby, Marie Claire Disturbing, sly and delicious. - Ayobami Adebayo, author of 'Stay with Me' This riveting, brutally hilarious, ultra-dark novel is an explosive debut by Oyinkan Braithwaite... A delicious tale. - Nylon In its darkly comic depiction of two women teaming up against the powerful, abusive men in their lives, My Sister the Serial Killer feels like an ideal book for the present moment. - Washington Post A bombshell of a book - sharp, explosive, hilarious. - New York Times Book Review This book is amazing, and every woman should read it in public. While cackling. - Lit Hub, Book of the Year 2018 Hilarious, disturbing, and so much fun to read. - Elle, Books to watch in 2019 A deliciously kitschy thriller... Murderously good fun. - Tatler, Best Books of 201 You can't help flying through the pages. - Buzzfeed, Book of the Year 2018 Inventive and darkly comic. - Daily Mail Oyinkan Braithwaite is rewriting the slasher novel, and man, does it look good... A terrific and clever novel about sisterhood. - Refinery29 A gem: small, hard, sharp, and polished to perfection. - Edgar Cantero, New York Times - bestselling author of 'Meddling Kids' Sly, risky, and filled with surprises, Oyinkan Braithwaite holds nothing back in this wry and refreshingly inventive novel about violence, sister rivalries and simply staying alive. - Idra Novey, author of 'Ways to Disappear' Bursting with chutzpah and laced with deadpan wit, My Sister The Serial Killer breezes in, knocks you sideways and waves goodbye with a killer smile. And like all deadly entertainments, it whets the appetite for more. - Liz Jensen, author of 'The Ninth Life of Louis Drax' Braithwaite's blazing debut is as sharp as a knife...bitingly funny and brilliantly executed, with not a single word out of place. - Publishers Weekly, (starred review) Who is more dangerous? A femme fatale murderess or the quiet, plain woman who cleans up her messes? I never knew what was going to happen, but found myself pulling for both sisters, as I relished the creepiness and humor of this modern noir. - Helen Ellis, author of American Housewife Even your most extravagant speculations about what's really going on with these wildly contrasting yet oddly simpatico siblings will be trumped in this skillful, sardonic debut. - Kirkus Review This slim, scathingly black comedy delves into two sisters' tenuous dynamic - heightened since one of them is, erm, a serial killer. Such morbidity only sharpens the book's comic edge, which emerges via Braithwaite's deadpan prose. - Entertainment Weekly Braithwaite's blazing debut is as sharp as a knife...bitingly funny and brilliantly executed, with not a single word out of place. - Publishers Weekly, (starred review) In her buzzy debut, Braithwaite tests the bond of sisterhood in a dark yet funny examination of violence, loyalty and family. - Time Dark, scathing, insidious, and wickedly funny... At once uproarious, shocking, and packed with emotional poignancy. - Crimereads Braithwaite's writing pulses with the fast, slick heartbeat of a YA thriller, cut through by a dry noir wit. That aridity is startling, a trait we might expect from someone older, more jaded-a Cusk, an Offill. But Braithwaite finds in young womanhood a reason to be bitter. At the center of these women's lives is a knot of pain, and when it springs apart, it bloodies the world. - New Republic Deftly written... pointy and sleek - The i Inventive, darkly comic - Daily Mail A comically clever and exciting debut - The Skinny Utterly addictive and a pure joy to read - Stylist A short, sharp and sinister sister act, told with plenty of mordant humour - Irish Independent Fresh new voices in the crime fiction genre are very welcome, and there are none more fresh than Oyinkan Braitwaite. This visceral debut ... is a darkly funny romp that manages to combine the page-turning quality of the best thrillers with a serious look at familial and sibling conflict. It's also something of a riot ... enormously entertaining - Big Issue This is an assured debut and that dark humour will stay with you long after you've put down the book - Scotsman Braithwaite's deft first novel offers intriguing glimpses of middleclass Lagos life. - Mail on Sunday My Sister, the Serial Killer is the blackest of black comedies, narrated by the longsuffering Korede in brief, matter-of-fact flashes... Oyinkan Braithwaite, a fiendishly talented young Nigerian writer, tells her ghastly story with superb wit and assurance. - The Times Leaves you torn between laughing, crying, and immediately going out and resisting the patriarchy - Vogue
My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker - and more difficult to get out of the carpet - than water...
Longlisted for The Women's Prize
Evening Standard Bestseller, 2019
Time's Bestseller, 2019
Vogue's Best Books for Spring, 2019
Elle's Books to Watch in 2019
Tatler's Best Books of the New Year, 2019
Buzzfeed's Book of the Year, 2018
From the Publisher
My Sister, the Serial Killer
"Femi makes three you know. Three and they label you a serial killer."
A blackly comic novel about lies, love, Lagos, and how blood is thicker - and more difficult to get out of the carpet - than water.
"Feverishly hot" -- Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train.
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There is a freshness to the piece. There is nothing obvious about the plot. The characters are well rounded and treated with respect. The Sisterly relationship is just perfect. There are some interesting choices in chapter length which I think work well and the style is suitably economical and spare for a piece of Noir. It is what I call genre+ where a writer takes genre structures and uses them as a springboard for something that bit elevated.
I loved Korede and loved the way she was drawn down into a moral quagmire by Braithwaite. All the external motivations and internal motivations lead inexorably to a satisfying conclusion. Where I have my only note of criticism, I think the ending could have been written into a little more. I like it, I just think it needed to be expanded a little more.
This is the perfect book to be turned into a movie, and Working Title have already bought the option. I just hope they do it justice because this could be such a good movie.
The voice of the book is Korede’s, elder sister to Ayoola, the former a hospital nurse, tall, angular and not pretty (as she tells us), the latter an exquisitely beautiful wild child, utterly devastating, self centred and lacking any right-wrong moral sense. There is a mother but the father is ten years dead, though he looms back into Korede’s present; he was a domestic tyrant of absolutely the worst kind.
I don’t do spoilers but it suffices that the title announces the novel for what it is, but how it unfolds shows the young author to be a very bright star in the sky. The chapters are many and short, some a single paragraph, a page, max four – we should call them ‘scenes’. Each is headed by a word, usually one word, which signals the intent of the scene.
The story has two locations: home for the family, a compound in Lagos in a large house, and the hospital where Korede works and where she moons and swoons over a handsome doctor who barely acknowledges her. OB’s writing has that wonderful thing where I felt transported to this part of West Africa. When Ayoola waltzes in one day at her sister’s place of work to ‘Take you to lunch’ (no, it is a kind of spying), the handsome doctor sees the sister and the amorous fireworks start. Korede also has a confessor, a patient in a coma whom she visits, sits with and pours out her sister’s doings. Of course, there is a consequence to this that you can probably guess.
This is also a book with Nigerian culture stitched into it. People routinely, it seems tell lies, use astonishing verbal and mental juggling to turn black into white and guilt into innocence, the dexterity and virtuosity of which makes Donald Trump look like a beginner - and corruption is everywhere. Also the marriage plotting and scheming of the sisters’ mother is not a million miles from Jewish mothers in NYC. There is a fearsome patriarchy and where women are treated badly: make that very badly. There are Nigerian words, some in the alphabet I am using, others in a strange mix of letters with accent markings that are probably Yoruba – and I would have liked an end of book glossary – there is appreciable cooking and, well, I wanted to know what they were eating.
It is a terrific read. OB suffered terrible writer’s block (see article, The Guardian, 15 Jan) and wrote MSTSK in a kind of desperation (hey girl, feel your pain, we’ve all been there).
But I cannot give the fifth star, because of the ending. It is unsatisfying, ambiguous and for such a gifted young writer a bit lazy. Her editors should have known better, but perhaps they were thinking of a sequel – please, no – the story does not have the legs for it.
Now: buy it!
You're not supposed to like or take the side of a serial killer - and by God, I didn't! Ayoola is beautiful, seems to be bláse about everything, and a psychopathic killer. She gets her sister, Korede, to clean up after her. I'm torn between Ayoola playing a game or just showing her true nature. I don't think she's that intelligent to play a game, but I could be wrong. Korede's only 'therapy' comes in the form of a dying man in a coma. Well, he's not going to tell anyone, is he?
This would be a fantastic tale for a book club to discuss. It seems a simplistic story, however it is not. It is chock full of questions. Some of which are: the roles women play in Nigeria; the roles of older and younger sisters; is anyone in this book real?; why is Ayoola killing men?; is blood thicker than water, is that why Korede backs her sister completely?
Sharp, shocking, intelligent, and a definite page-turner.
Firstly, the story, coupled with the setting, alongside the characters, all resonate at a level only a fellow Nigerian would understand. Besides all that, the plot itself is unique, the prose is crisp and evocative; the characters, multilayered. Then there’s that dry sardonic humour that Braithwaite sprinkles throughout the story, making me laugh out loud when I probably should have been aghast.
Additionally, what Braithwaite does with the titular characters - the ditzy yet extremely manipulative “serial killer”- Ayoola, and her long-suffering, perpetually angsty sister- Korede, is nothing short of magical. So magical I’m almost tempted to read it again! Love, love, love!
The topics are pretty serious but overall, this is an entertaining story, well written. I definitely recommend it!