My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister, The Serial Killer was written by Oyinkan Braithwaite and published by Doubleday Books, an imprint of Penguin Books in 2018. The audiobook was published by W F Howes in 2019 and narrated by Weruche Opia. It has received nominations for such pretigious awards as the 2019 Booker Prize for Women’s Fiction and it was the Waterstones pick for Thriller Of The Month in October 2019.
Synopsis: Set in Lagos in Nigeria, this satirical thriller tells the story of Korede and Ayoola, two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Korede, the older of the two is the level-headed, unassuming nurse. Ayoola, the seemingly harmless online influencer, possesses a distinctive beauty not shared with her older sister.
Yet Ayoola differs from her sister in other ways too, in that she always ends up murdering every boyfriend she finds, leaving Korede with the job of picking up the pieces.
“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”Oyinkan Braithwaite -My Sister, The Serial Killer
Although I wouldn’t particularly classify thriller as my preferred genre of books, I found My Sister, The Serial Killer to be a keenly compelling listen that I was able to complete in one sitting, not only because of its brevity but also given the simultaneously humorous and dramatic quality of its driving plot.
I loved the cultural vividness of the story and listening to Opia’s narration enhanced the experience all the more, especially concerning the pronunciation of certain expressions I’m assuming to be either of the Yoruba or the Igbo tongue, where I definitely would’ve had some trouble in reading them myself.
Given the brevity of the story, I thought the execution of the characterisation was flawless. Braithwaite tells the story completely through Korede’s perspective and in so doing perfectly develops her insecure nature and her resentful yet overly protective feelings towards her sister.
We also get a sense of Ayoola’s fickleness and her tendency to be a compulsive liar as well as the subtle depth of her character; a result of the abuse she suffered under her father. This multi-layered nature manifests itself symbolically, in the way Ayoola always carries around her father’s ornately guilded knife, the primary instrument in all the murders she has committed.
It was extremely difficult to fault this book. That being said, I felt like that archetypal “chase” factor, synonymous with any thriller was altogether missing, especially one with a murder mystery dimension to it. Instead, the book puts more emphasis on the estranged solidarity between the two sisters, the relationship of which made for a resounding ending.