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Something for Book Club! Sefi Atta’s “Everything Good Will Come”

Something for Book Club! Sefi Atta’s “Everything Good Will Come”

Caroline Donegan

Girth Radio Presents…

Finding a book that is easy to read and actually enriching can sometimes feel like hitting the jackpot. So called, ‘page-turners’ can often feel like the soap-opera equivalent of the literary world, and good, honest writing that enhances your life isn’t always that compelling until around page 86 or so.

But Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come is one of those four-leaf clover kind of novels that pulls you in right from the start, and then teaches you things whether you were looking to learn them or not.

It’s hard to pin down the plot of a life. Extracting the themes and connections from the lived experiences of one person presents a challenge because life is rarely linear. But Atta accomplishes this beautifully in her novel, sharing the life of Enitan with the reader, spanning a few decades, all in the first person.

Themes emerge across Enitan’s story as she navigates her position as an empowered woman in post-colonial Nigeria. Enitan makes a space for herself in a time and place where patriarchal traditions were valued, and Atta tenderly writes the nuances that explain how a woman can love a country that sometimes doesn’t seem to love her back.

Atta’s life has clearly influenced the novel, having grown up in Nigeria and been educated in London like her character. Her portrayal of Enitan’s relationship with Nigeria, colonialism and civil unrest is told with genuine complexity, exploring Enitan’s privileges and oppressions at the same time. Atta gives an honest account of city living in Nigeria, eschewing the representations of a monolithic Africa that are so often offered up in the Western narrative.

Everything Good Will Come is a novel about womanhood and about nationhood, and Atta fits these storylines seamlessly together. Enitan’s search for independence and internal peace parallels that of her nation, as she looks to find a way to balance tradition and modernity in her life.

Her struggles are relatable and her life is both extraordinary and entirely average, because Atta has written the story of a normal women, that all women can find themselves within. Everything Good Will Come is truly one of those novels you’ll be better for having read.

21 August 2018 Girth Radio Blog , ,

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