His Only Wife

Peace Adzo Medie. Algonquin, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61620-915-5
Medie’s busy debut turns on a family drama caused by polygamy in Ghana. Afi Tekple, a seamstress living with her widowed mother in Ho in 2014, is surprised when wealthy matriarch Aunty Faustina Ganyo engineers a proposal to Afi from Faustina’s son, Eli. Faustina hopes Afi can lure Eli away from Muna, Eli’s de facto Liberian wife, whom the Ganyos disapprove of. Eli, busy with business travel, marries Afi in absentia and the Ganyos move Afi into an apartment in Accra. Afi, recognizing her role as “the key to other people’s happiness,” pursues her own fulfillment by using the Ganyo family connections to enroll in a prestigious fashion design program. Even after Afi becomes pregnant, Eli refuses to move her into his house and evict Muna, and the pain of sharing her husband with Muna and her responsibilities to the Ganyos pushes Afi to her breaking point. Afi’s narration is driven by a series of episodes, from Afi insisting on learning to drive to selling her designs to the country’s first lady, and while the relentless pacing leaves little room for reflection on her emotional turmoil, Medie succeeds at channeling Afi’s desires and desperation. This stirring tale sings when Afi learns to flex her limited power. Agent: Kiele Raymond, Thompson Literary Agency (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/29/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
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