Dele Weds Destiny

Knopf. Jun. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9780593320297. $27. F
DEBUT In the mid-1980s, three young Nigerian women from disparate backgrounds meet in school and become inseparable. On their vibrant college campus, Funmi, Enitan, and Zainab relish their freedom to study, argue, and question religion, culture, politics, and sexuality, forging bonds and secrets that will be long held. Three decades later, Funmi’s daughter Destiny, a medical student who would rather pursue a career in photography, appears to be rushing into marriage, and the friends are reuniting at Funmi’s palatial compound in Lagos for the joyous occasion. Soon each spots the cracks behind the others’ well-honed facades. Enitan, who left Nigeria for married life in New York City, is filing for divorce, to her daughter Remy’s dismay. Meanwhile, Zainab struggles to care for her husband, Ahmed, felled by a stroke, and Funmi, though wealthy beyond imagining, is saddled with an aloof man more enthralled by his cell phone than by his wife. Descriptions of the over-the-top wedding festivities would be a pure delight but for the underlying question: Will these women ultimately love and support their daughters as they once did each other?
VERDICT The intricacies of female friendships and the complex nature of mother/daughter relationships are at the heart of this absorbing novel from BuzzFeed culture editor Obaro, a sharp new voice on the literary scene.
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