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Reviewed by: Liz Warder (Journalist, South Africa)

 Kingsley Kobo’s adeptness with dialogue imbues this tale of love and betrayal with an almost voyeuristic feeling.

Earthy and compelling, set in contemporary Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where ‘second’ wives, legalized mistresses and ‘comfort zones’ are acceptable.

We follow the plight of Eva, a religious and ambitious young girl, who, after saying goodnight to her boy-friend, Adama, is offered a lift by a handsome and plausible, wealthy stranger with whom she spends the night. She later finds she is pregnant with twins. Her own father is dead, her deeply religious mother, Meme, has no income. Her two sisters, Josiane and Béatrice, to cope with their life of poverty, have become, as Eva puts it, ‘wayward’. Eva, realizing she is now in the same boat, and, with the advice of her duplicitous and immoral Aunt, Mamoussé, struggles and juggles lovers to make sense of her life. But, through it all, she is determined to track down the ‘ghost’ who fathered her twins. This takes her on a strange stop-start journey as she tries to gather clues to his whereabouts before he marries his ‘virgin’ bride.

I was a captive audience right to the last page. Kingsley has used his writing skills to help highlight many social ills that he feels strongly about. Included in this book are concerns such as poverty, women in jeopardy, HIV-AIDS, abortion, immigration and tourism hassles.

Born in 1977 in Nigeria, Kingsley Kobo has the facility to write in an entertaining manner that makes you eager to read more. This is not surprising when one learns that he is the son of Nigerian novelist and playwright, Alfred Vhovhen.

Kingsley’s own life reads like an action packed adventure story. As a teenager he was nearly thrown to the sharks for being a stowaway aboard a Russian ship, but a poem he had written saved him. Later, when trying to get to Europe he endured a harrowing and eventually aborted trek through hundreds of miles of Mali desert where a person would do anything for a cup of water. He dated a girl for four years and week before his wedding discovered, while he is HIV-negative, she is HIV-positive. Talk about narrow escapes.

Kobo Kingsley is definitely an exciting new author with a distinctive and very readable style. I look forward to his next novel.

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