Nearly All the Men in Lagos Are Mad: Stories

HarperVia. Mar. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780063316362. $26. F
DEBUT In this debut collection of twelve stories, Nigerian writer Kuku vividly portrays the war between the genders. There’s the wife who feels that her husband encouraged her to have an affair with a rich and influential entrepreneur in order to improve the economic wellbeing of their family. In “Ode-Pus Complex,” independent-minded Yejide must contend with the demands and tribal loyalties of her boyfriend’s mother. Another story describes the attempts of a pastor’s wife to stand by her husband, despite mounting evidence of his flagrant infidelities. In “International Relations,” after a series of disastrous experiences with Nigerian men, a successful careerwoman decides only to date white men but soon runs into problems. The women in Kuku’s stories range from tough and lustful to sweet and fed up. The city of Lagos itself is an important character, defined by its neighborhoods, markets, bridges, and streets. Kuku’s raucous and vibrant style emphasizes her storytelling skills (she also stars in, directs, and produces films).
VERDICT A huge hit in Nigeria, Kuku’s story collection explores women’s lives, sexuality, and resilience in the face of adversity.
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