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Helping Out Family Is Taken to Extremes in ‘My Sister, the Serial Killer’ (THE NEW YORK TIMES)

It’s not that Ayoola meant to kill quite so many men. She’s not a monster, she’d insist. Things just have a way of getting out of hand. Frankly, it would be cruel to blame her. Maybe you’re the monster?

Ayoola — lovely, dopey, incorrigibly murderous — is the chaos at the heart of “My Sister, the Serial Killer,” a much-anticipated first novel from the Nigerian writer Oyinkan Braithwaite. It’s Lagos noir — pulpy, peppery and sinister, served up in a comic deadpan courtesy of the narrator, Ayoola’s horrified sister Korede.

Korede, a nurse, is as unprepossessing as her sister is beautiful, and as loyal as they come. She’s always on hand to discreetly dispose of a body or to help concoct an alibi — even as she’s baffled by her sister’s motives. Ayoola claims the murders are in self-defense, but she never seems hurt or even terribly rattled. (And why is she wandering around with a nine-inch knife, anyway?)


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The 2019 Tournament of Books Long List (THE MORNING NEWS)

Here are our favorite, Rooster-approved novels from 2018. In the coming weeks, we’ll cull this list down to our final set of competitors for the 2019 Tournament of Books.

What a great year for fiction. We really mean that. No matter that the headlines every morning already read like fantasy. Honestly, more than ever we are convinced that literature is necessary to life. That it encourages our best intentions. That it expects better of our weaker ideas. Best of all, it puts us in somebody else’s shoes. Books—fiction in particular, the novel especially—are the most powerful empathy engines that humans have come up with yet.

To read the list, click here.

Why she kills her boyfriends (THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

“My Sister The Serial Killer” has to be the best title of any novel of 2018 — maybe of any novel of the decade.

It’s pseudo-confessional, suggesting voyeuristic insights into the lives of siblings of serial killers. It’s also blandly deadpan, putting on the back foot anyone so naive as to think that serial killing is an undesirable habit in a sister.

The sisters at the heart of the story are Korede and Ayoola, and on the surface they couldn’t be more different — at least according to Korede, who tells their tale.

To read the full review, click here.

There Were Zero Better Things This Week Than Ezra Miller’s Dementor Chic Red Carpet Look (HUFFPOST)

The title of this diminutive thriller from Nigerian author Oyinkan Braithwaite ― My Sister, the Serial Killer ― is such a blunt description of its subject that it sounds like it should contain the tear-soaked memoirs of a Wuornos sibling. No artful novelistic elision here! The book continues in this straightforward way, laying out its story in clear, precise terms.

But what a murky, unsettling story. Ayoola is a spoiled but gorgeous young woman who immediately turns the head of any man who encounters her. She also keeps ending up with dead boyfriends on her hands. As the novel opens, she’s just killed a third boyfriend, and her responsible older sister, Korede, has been summoned to clean up the crime scene ― not for the first time. Korede, who narrates the book, accepts Ayoola’s flimsy excuse of having been attacked, just as she did the first two times. Then her irresistible little sister sets her eyes on a new romantic target: Korede’s longtime crush, a handsome doctor. As Korede wrestles with which of her beloveds to protect, a police investigation into the disappearance of Femi, the third dead boyfriend, hovers threateningly over her.

Korede’s and Ayoola’s motivations, at least their true ones, are more hinted at than explored, so diagnosing their troubled impulses, and the powerful bond holding them together, is part of the fun. Also, it’s a taut, rapidly paced thriller that pleasurably subverts serial killer and sisterhood tropes for a guaranteed fun afternoon. ― Claire Fallon

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25 Things to Do Over the Next 2 Weeks: Watch My Brilliant Friend, See Network, Go to Glass Handel (VULTURE)

There’s something seductively flippant in the quite literal title of Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut, set in Lagos, narrated by the non-murdering sibling, Korede. Ayoola has so far dispatched three boyfriends; Korede, a nurse, assists in corpse disposal. Braithwaite brings wryness, lightness, and cool to the thriller game, along with a location not usually depicted in such fare. —Boris Kachka

To read the original article, click here.

PW Picks: Books of the Week, November 12, 2018 (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

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Braithwaite’s blazing debut is as sharp as the knife that twists in the chest of Femi, the now-dead boyfriend of Ayoola, whose boyfriends, curiously, seem to keep winding up dead in her presence. Femi makes dead boyfriend number three—each were killed in self-defense, according to Ayoola—and, per usual, Ayoola’s older sister, Korede, is called upon to help dispose of the body. The only confidante Korede has is a coma patient at the Lagos hospital where she works, which is the only place she can go to escape Ayoola. It is also where she can see the man she loves, a handsome and thoughtful doctor named Tade. Of course, this means that when the capricious Ayoola decides to start visiting her sister at work, she takes notice of him, and him of her. This is the last straw for Korede, who realizes she is both the only person who understands how dangerous her sister is and the only person who can intervene before her beloved Tade gets hurt, or worse. Interwoven with Korede, Ayoola, and Tade’s love triangle is the story of Korede and Ayoola’s upbringing, which is shadowed by the memory of their father, a cruel man who met a tragic and accidental death—or did he? As Korede notes when she considers her own culpability in her sister’s temperament: “His blood is my blood and my blood is hers.” The reveal at the end isn’t so much a “gotcha” moment as the dawning of an inevitable, creeping feeling that Braithwaite expertly crafts over the course of the novel. This is both bitingly funny and brilliantly executed, with not a single word out of place.

To read the original article, click here.

Why She Kills Her Boyfriends (WASHINGTON TIMES)

“My Sister The Serial Killer” has to be the best title of any novel of 2018 — maybe of any novel of the decade.

It’s pseudo-confessional, suggesting voyeuristic insights into the lives of siblings of serial killers. It’s also blandly deadpan, putting on the back foot anyone so naive as to think that serial killing is an undesirable habit in a sister.

The sisters at the heart of the story are Korede and Ayoola, and on the surface they couldn’t be more different — at least according to Korede, who tells their tale.

To read the original article, click here.

The December 2018 Indie Next List Preview (ABA)

#1 Pick: My Sister, the Serial Killer: A Novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite
(Doubleday, 9780385544238, $22.95)
My Sister, the Serial Killer is one of the best books to come along in quite a while — fast, funny, and completely engrossing. Oyinkan Braithwaite offers up a tale of Nigerian sisters Ayoola, a beautiful and sociopathic serial killer who destroys boyfriends, aware that all they ever want her for is her appearance, and Korede, a nurse whose average looks leave her continually passed up in preference for Ayoola. Still, taciturn and devoted Korede works hard to cover up her charming sister’s crimes. What will happen when they both fall for the same guy? At once a page-turner and a perversely righteous tale about the emptiness of physical beauty and the superficiality of being charmed by it, My Sister, the Serial Killer is entertaining, provoking, and utterly fascinating!” —Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

To read the original article, click here.