My Sister, the Serial Killer

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RATING: ★★★★★

Hello everyone,

if you are still on this blog, you need some kind of award for sticking with me while not updating. It’s been over a year and it’s truly been the most crazy year of my life.

However, I missed book blogging and I’ve had some great ideas for new things to do with this blog. All will be revealed in due time, but I decided that there is no better way to get back into than by reading some of the books on the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist. Throughout my two years of barely posting, I’ve kept reading and now I want to share my thoughts with you again!

Today, the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 will be revealed, so it seemed like the perfect time to discuss my favourite of the shortlisted novels with you! So lets delve right in with My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

My Sister, the Serial Killer is the story of Korede and Ayoola. They are sisters (as revealed in the title) and the novel starts with Ayoola calling Korede to help her get rid of her dead boyfriend’s body. This is the third time Ayoola has called a boyfriend and that Korede has been summoned to help. When Ayoola starts dating the guy that Korede has a crush on, Korede gets confused about where her allegiance lays and struggles with trying to prevent her sister from killing her crush.

When I heard about this novel from the Women’s Prize longlist, I immediately bought it and finished it all within the same day. Literary awards are great opportunities for people to get to know new books and I loved that this was a book that I had never heard of, yet that seemed so perfect for me.

Korede is our narrator and I connected to her right away. She’s incredibly loyal to her sister, but also wants to protect the man she loves. Her voice is unique and I could truly connect with her, even though she is far from perfect. Ayoola has a great arc, from a character that you can’t really understand - because Korede doesn’t understand her - to someone you can also connect with, but again she keeps her flaws. I enjoyed how this isn’t a redemption story, but just an investigation into two sisters with very different personalities that somehow have to connect due to their biological situation.

I saw on Goodreads that many people complained about the sparse writing style of Braithwaite, so I feel like it’s worth the mention. The chapters are short in this book and you can easily read it in one day. This book is not a book for someone who wants to read pages of description. The story takes place in Nigeria and though that is important for the cultural context of the characters, we don’t see much of Nigeria. I didn’t mind this, because I believe this is a character novel - one that focuses on how family members interact with each other.

Personally, I enjoyed that the book left a lot of things open. You don’t need to tell me every single detail of every room or even every single emotion a character feels. Due to the amazing writing, I felt connected to Korede and I could fill in some of the blanks myself - I actually really enjoyed doing that.

For me, this is the kind of book that should win the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It is innovative in its writing style and explores a pretty uncommon subject in an unique way. I don’t know how these awards are chosen, but I think that My Sister, the Serial Killer has a pretty good chance of winning.