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The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

By Lola Shoneyin

Snappy Review

Dive headlong into the politics of a polygamous marriage and the personalities of four very different women, all there for very different reasons of their own.

Beautifully written, it’s fascinating and bewildering in turns – A great Autumn read!


A riotous domestic African novel about rivalry, secrets and jealous wives.

To the dismay of her overbearingly ambitious mother, Bolanle marries into a polygamous family, where she is the fourth wife of a rich, rotund patriarch, Baba Segi. She is a graduate and therefore a great prize, but even graduates must produce children and her husband’s persistent bellyache is a sign that things are not as they should be. Bolanle is too educated for the ‘white garment conmen’ Baba Segi would usually go to for fertility advice, so he takes her to hospital to discover the cause of her barrenness.

Weaving the voices of Baba Segi and his four competing wives into a portrait of a clamorous household of twelve, Lola Shoneyin evokes an extraordinary Nigerian family in splashes of vibrant colour.