Minakshi's Reviews > On Black Sisters Street: A Novel

On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe
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Apr 18, 11

Read in April, 2011

Black Sisters Street is Zwartezusterstraat, in the middle of Belgium's red-light district, home to four African women who have left their homeland in the naïve hope of betterment. The story begins when one of the women, Sisi, is found murdered. As her remaining co-workers and house mates, Ama, Efe and Joyce come to terms with her death, each relives their painful journey from Nigeria to Belgium to become sex workers, and how they have been brought together by Dele, a Nigerian pimp, and by "the trump card that God has wedged in between their legs".

Unigwe's prose is clear and calm - although some terrible things take place in the book, the reader doesn't feel weighed down by it. Unigwe is also skilled at introducing into the narrative issues that are typical to Nigerian society like polygamy, sexism, belief in superstitions, tribal divisions and so on, using just a single reference or a passing comment, leaving the reader with a fleeting but precious sort of cultural snapshot.

I won an advanced copy of this book on Goodreads First Reads giveaways and highly recommend it, but be warned: this novel leaves a strong aftertaste.
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