cover image Daughter in Exile

Daughter in Exile

Bisi Adjapon. HarperVia, $27.99 (394p) ISBN 978-0-06-308902-0

Adjapon (The Teller of Secrets) chronicles a Ghanaian woman’s wrenching story of migration, disillusionment, and resilience. Lola has an embassy job in Dakar, Senegal, in the late 1990s, and her relationship with American Marine Armand takes on higher stakes when Lola, unexpectedly pregnant, travels to America to give birth so their child will have U.S. citizenship. Soon, though, Armand disavows Lola, leaving her stranded. But the smart and resourceful Lola takes advantage of her diplomatic connections and her education to persist through an exhausting series of setbacks over the next several years, culminating in a 2007 immigration case that will decide her fate. Adjapon’s fast-moving, character-driven narrative illuminates the challenges faced by immigrants; Lola is constantly at risk of exploitation by potential employers, her housing situation is perpetually tenuous, and she struggles to find acceptance. As an immigrant, she feels alienated from African American communities, though she eventually finds something of a community with the members of a Christian church. Her trust, however, only goes so far, and Adjapon pulls off a strikingly frank portrait of a woman worn down by the system (waiting on news of whether she’ll be deported to Ghana, Lola reflects, “I welcome either choice. I’m weary of peripheral living”). Adjapon continues to dazzle. (Mar.)