Everything Good Will Come
Sefi Atta
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Buy *Everything Good Will Come* online

Everything Good Will Come

Sefi Atta
Interlink Books
336 pages
January 2005
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars
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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.

A 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.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Sharon Schulz-Elsing, 2005

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