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Fata Morgana On Black Sisters Street tells the haunting story of four very different women who have left their African homeland for the riches of Europe—and who are thrown together by bad luck and big dreams into a sisterhood that will change their lives Each night Sisi Ama Efe and Joyce stand in the windows of Antwerp’s red light district promising to make men’s desires come true—if only for half an hour Pledged to the fierce Madam and a mysterious pimp named Dele the girls share an apartment but little else—they keep their heads down knowing that one step out of line could cost them a week’s wages They open their bodies to strangers but their hearts to no one each focused on earning enough to get herself free to send money home or save up for her own futureThen suddenly a murder shatters the still surface of their lives Drawn together by tragedy and the loss of one of their own the women realize that they must choose between their secrets and their safety As they begin to tell their stories their confessions reveal the face in Efe’s hidden photograph Ama’s lifelong search for a father Joyce’s true name and Sisi’s deepest secrets— and all their tales of fear displacement and love concluding in a chance meeting with a powerful sinister stranger On Black Sisters Street is the story of four African females who for various reasons end up prostitutes in Belgiums red light district All are chasing the dream of a better life outside their native countries in Africa For one of them the dream will end tragically On Black Sisters Street is a raw provocative and riveting novel from debut author Chika Unigwe The beginning was a little juxtaposed for me but once I got past the first couple of chapters and began to hear the voices of Ama Joyce and Efe against the backdrop of Sisi it became a very engaging read for me and one that I didn't want to put down until I got to the very last page Of course I had to know what happened to Sisi and how she came to her demise I recommend On Black Sisters Street to all who enjoy literary reads storylines about women from the African disapora stories about female protagonists who despite life's circumstances still dare to dream Get ready to care about these women and empathize with them and their situation Get ready to be emotionally charged by these characters I hope this author writes something else soon as I would definitely read another book by her 45 Stars On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe is a difficult novel to read The story centers around four women who are sex workers in Belgium In an all too familiar story the women leave their native Africa for a better life only to end up in Belgium working in the red light district They will never be able to pay back their trafficker and must endure a life of violence loneliness and rape One of the women Sisi is murdered While the book is a work of fiction one can only think of the women and children world over and in our own backyards who are being sex and labor trafficked The book left me sad angry and tired Unigwe is a talented the writer and is even able to infuse some humor into the horrific story I heard second hand a story about a man whose son had died some years before Asked how he found the energy for his community work after such a heartbreaking loss he said Life is not about waiting for the storm to end but learning to dance in the rain In the self stories shared by four women in this book their dreams their vulnerability their sufferings all invoke sympathy but it's the way they somehow pick themselves up and carry on the way they just about sustain each other messily and with a 25% critical failure rate by hearing and affirming and sharing laughter and hope that makes the book bearable to read even helpful like those words of courage in terrible griefThe fragmentary narrative structure works beautifully collective memory gradually emerging enabling the reader to feel the women's relief from the loneliness of living in a foreign country behind the sex worker's protective mask of glamour when they tell their own stories This is how I was betrayed by a man and how I have survivedOne thing I found weird about this edition was the blurb which says the book is about Dele above all Maybe this is an attempt to assign responsibility to an abuser but I don't think it's appropriate Like all the men in this book Dele controls women's lives but the women own it all the way wresting every shred of self determination available from whatever horrible situation they're forced into They are never idealised and are often unlikeable They make bad choices and abuse others too but we're made well aware that their options look like the frying pan and the fire I've wanted to read this book since Chika Unigwe won the coveted 100k Nigerian literature prize This book is entertaining indeed in some places unfolding just like the popular and highly entertaining Nigerian dramas One thing that Unigwe did well here was the rich dialogue you could envision yourself in the middle of the conversation And the strategic sprinkle of dialect just enough to be authentic not too much to overwhelm The story is about African women with traumatic childhoods who escape from Nigeria to Belgium in order to better their lives What they must do in Belgium however is also traumatic So how do they go from trial to triumph? That was the problem for me with this book I didn't see that I couldn't stay with one character for too long because I got a lot from their childhoods but not a lot from their adulthood I yearned to see of their personalities in their adult jobs get taken behind the scenes with them

  • Hardcover
  • 258 pages
  • Fata Morgana
  • Chika Unigwe
  • English
  • 14 August 2015
  • 9781400068333

About the Author: Chika Unigwe

Chika Unigwe was born in Enugu Nigeria and now lives in Turnhout Belgium with her husband and four children She writes in English and Dutch In April 2014 she was selected for the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of 39 Sub Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literatureUnigwe holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the Uni

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