My Sister, the Serial Killer, set in Lagos, Nigeria, is one of the most compelling and fast-paced reads among the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlisted novels in 2019. I managed to devour it in a single setting, and it has a simple premise.
Ayoola, Korede’s little sister, is everything Korede is not. She is a fashion designer in her own right, and unlike the plain looking Korede, she turns heads wherever she goes. So seducing men has always been a breeze for her, although letting them live once she tires of them has proven to be the real task! You see, Ayoola is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who hides her murderous intents well underneath her beauty – the men who have outlived their usefulness don’t even know what hit them when they die at her hands. And they always leave behind a bloody mess! So it is Korede, the orderly one out of the two sisters, who runs to Ayoola’s rescue each time.
But why would Korede, a virtuous, responsible person, help Ayoola conceal her crimes? At first, Ayoola had fed her some bull about the murders being acts of self-defense, which Korede no longer believes in after having helped Ayoola to dispose yet another body. Even so, Korede isn’t one to turn on her sister. As the elder sibling, Korede feels it’s her responsibility to protect Ayoola, although the circumstances end up testing if blood is really thicker than water when Ayoola bewitches Tade, the man of Korede’s dreams.
While My Sister, the Serial Killer isn’t a thriller per se (it’s more of a character study), it was twisted enough to keep me guessing. The novel’s contemplative writing which examines Korede’s yearnings and emotions (throughout the novel, she is torn between her loyalty to Ayoola, and love for Tade), and complex dynamics of sibling relationships was also a plus for me. So even though I’m not convinced My Sister, the Serial Killer has enough substance to win the Women’s Prize for Fiction, it proved to be one gratifying read! 3.5 stars.