A Spell of Good Things

Books on Tape. Feb. 2023. 12:41 hrs. ISBN 9780593664599. $95. F
Narrated by Babájídé Oyèkúnlé and O․re․ Apampa, Adébáyò․’s second novel (following Stay with Me) explores Nigeria’s social inequalities and growing economic precarity through the lives of two protagonists from opposite ends of the social and financial spectrum. Wúrào․lá, a resident doctor, comes from a wealthy family with political connections. She is pressured to conform to a patriarchal society’s expectation of women, where a good marriage to a good family matters more than one’s dreams and aspirations. Sixteen-year-old E․niò․la’s family struggles financially when his father loses his teaching job; eventually, E․niò․la and his younger sister, Bùso․lá, turn to the streets for money. When E․niò․la decides to join a gang working for a political opponent of Wúrào․lá’s father-in-law, Adébáyò․’s deft hand in storytelling is evident as E․niò․la and Wúrào․lá’s paths cross with devastating consequences. Oyèkúnlé and Apampa convey the rhythm of the book, speaking with accurate Yoruban accents and providing vivid characterizations that bring additional depth to this already compelling story.
VERDICT Adébáyò․’s skill is apparent as she navigates Wúrào․lá’s and E․niò․la’s contrasting worlds, connecting the two through the choices they make and the tragedy that engulfs them both.
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