Everything Good Will Come heralds the full-length debut of a powerful new voice in feminist fiction - Sefi Atta, whose short stories have garnered acclaim from Red Hen Press and Zoetrope, among others. Told in the voice of Enitan Taiwo, a young woman living in Lagos, Nigeria, in the aftermath of that country's independence, Everything Good Will Come's narrative covers nearly thirty years and is framed by the lifelong friendship between Enitan and
Sheri, a half-caste neighbor girl with a sharp tongue and wild ways.
nation struggling to come to terms with its independence, couching its freedom
in the oppressive terms of internal military rule, Nigeria is a country with
unnatural borders created by outsiders. But to Enitan as a growing girl, the
private wars within her parents' home shape her natural skepticism and fear of
loss. Sheri's daring defiance provides a welcome but forbidden counterpoint to
Enitan's own willful uncertainty - until the day when a group of boys, including
one on whom the boarding-school educated Enitan has a crush, rape and ruin Sheri
at a secluded party.
The incident cements in Enitan an enduring distrust of men, a notion
bolstered by the fact that so many seem to betray her. When she finally commits
to the quiet, strong Niyi, she struggles to keep herself intact in their
personal orbit of in-laws and expectations that would have her submit, even
though she has a career as a lawyer and a fierce intelligence that should
otherwise put her on equal footing with her husband.
As her failure to carry a pregnancy to term and her philandering father's
political outspokenness put additional pressure on Enitan's marriage, she finds
herself at odds with Niyi, over-extending herself and endangering her unborn
child to try to make a difference in a country whose political terrain is as
unpredictable as its "no water no light" infrastructure. The conclusion she
reaches, the choices she finally and deliberately makes raise this novel to
levels of bittersweet greatness.