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His Only Wife

His Only Wife

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It has a simple plot, easy to follow writing, a very linear plot and with a cast of characters whose motivations and actions can be debated; and all set against an interesting (if rather unappealing) insight into the Ghanian culture of wealth differences, extended patronage, family obligations and polygamous behaviour.

Peace Adzo Medie’s debut novel, His Only Wife, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a New York Times Notable Book of 2020, and a Time Magazine Must-Read Book of 2020. It was a little hard to "like" any of the characters in this book because some of them were a little trope-y but for me which was fine, I don't mind a trope- but they never quite managed to break through from the shell.

The character development for Afi is good, she takes control of her life instead of being solely dependent on husband, mother, others. Bottom line: I could say something about the clear and straightforward writing style, or how this somehow felt both too long and too short, or probably a bunch of other stuff, but what it comes down to is I'm nosy. I also wish that we could have seen more of Afi without the Ganyos (for example scenes while she's studying fashion would have been nice, or even her socialising with more people outside of her apartment). This part of the plot was really nice since it showed that Afi didn’t think she didn’t need to work.

I liked the exploration of the themes of money and love which are really pertinent in the global (and African) sugar baby culture.The idea was not at all unrealistic to me as I’ve seen similar things play out in real life although not quite with people as cosmopolitanly urbane but I’m not disputing the plausibility. We never meet Muna, but the family’s objections to her seem to be based on the facts that she is dark skinned and isn’t interested in impressing the family. However, despite the rut, I’ve been willing myself to read when and where I can even if it takes me an entire week. An intriguing and thought-provoking sentence opens the novel His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie and demands an undivided reader’s attention.

These expectations expose the simultaneous beauty and burden of family, which can be both comforting (such as Afi’s relationship with her cousin Mawusi) and a source of intense strife (such as the relationship with her uncle Pious. Afi Tekple is a seamstress whose family arranges for her to marry Elikem Ganyo, a rich international businessman who has properties all over Ghana.I expected something more along the lines of Stay With Me or The Hairdresser of Harare, or The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, but this was pretty dry and anticlimactic, like reading about the weather.

I have mixed feelings about this contemporary African story about love, marriage, culture and what it means to be the perfect daughter, wife and to “keep your home. The two families gathered to execute an arranged and forced marital union that would bind the young couple to an equally rectangular life within the strict and absurd confines of their community. Afi and her mother are then relocated to the big city where Afi finds out she’s not living in the marital home nor does she see Eli for weeks. Heavy-bold-italics-underlined on the "𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙪𝙖𝙡 𝙗𝙤𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙜𝙚" because no one loves claiming spiritual warfare more than a man who is fully capable of making decisions. Elikem Ganyo is a wealthy businessman whose family has chosen Afi in the hope that she will distract him from a relationship with another woman they think is inappropriate.Initially I thought His Only Wife might be reminiscent of Lola Shoneyin's The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, but that notion is quickly disavowed with Afi's arrival in Accra. Her Aunty, her brother-in-law, and her mother try to placate her anxiety, telling her tall-tales about the 'Liberian woman' who has brainwashed him and of Elikem's daughter poor health. The couple was forcefully and absurdly united, after which Afi was sent to live alone in the groom’s spare condo in Accra, awaiting the stranger husband’s infrequent and unexpected visits.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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