My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
We are currently in the middle of a heatwave at the moment and I appear to have transformed into an 18th Century lady, swooning on chaise longue and needing a lot of delicate macaroons to eat.
What can I say? I'm from Yorkshire where the default weather setting is wet. The upside of all this swooning is that I'm getting to read more as it is too darn warm to do anything else and whilst I haven't any macaroons, I have been enjoying Rachel Allen's Carrot Cake. (I made it obviously, I didn't break into her house and steal it from her cake stand or anything!)
So I selected 'My Sister, the Serial Killer' to read and it certainly makes for a fascinating read. It was shortlisted for the Women's Prize and the Booker Longlist in 2019 and has been on numerous Books of the Year lists.
This is the story of 2 sisters, sensible Korede and stunningly beautiful Ayoola. Ayoola has a slight problem in that, well, she kills her boyfriends. And then relies on Korede to clean up her mess, which Korede has done every time she has been called on. Whilst Korede juggles a normal life as a nurse, she is horrified to discover that Ayoola has her sights set firmly on a Doctor at the hospital who Korede just happens to have a crush on. Can she save him? and will she have to choose between her sister or her love?
Goodness, this is a seriously dark and twisted novel. The writing is great and Korede's voice is wonderfully concise. She seems to accept that this is the way Ayoola is, with a resigned sigh and not question her behaviour at all. Ayoola is fascinating , she has no filter, appears relatively unconcerned by the men she has killed and has no compunction about using her own family to get what she wants. And they all pander to this, not minding a jot if she can't cook and is untidy as her mother and sister will always clean up after her. There is never any explanation as to why she kills, it is treated in the same way as someone who buys far too many shoes.
Korede is equally fascinating. On the outside she appears capable and accepting, but little clues are given that all is not well. She cleans obsessively (always handy when removing all traces of blood from a room). Her only friend is Muhtar, a man in a coma whom she pours her heart out to telling him all about her sister. I loved the relationship between Korede and Muhtar and if I'm honest, would have loved this exploring a little more. Both give each other strength and I loved Muhtar's gentility.
I'm not sure if I was in a place of over-thinking, (an abundance of Rachel Allen's carrot cake will do that to you), but I became obsessed with finding a twist. There isn't one. It is just a book about 2 sisters, one of whom just happens to kill men.
I'm so pleased I read this, it is dark and full of humour, a very interesting and vibrant read.