This is another great find at a time when I trolled the library e-audios in desperation for something to listen to on my car trip. Newly published, this is her first novel by this author, though she has written for online sources. It sounded it interesting and was short (4.5 hours/ 188 pages). Although just over the 150 pages, I will call this a novella.
“…he sees what I see but from the other side. A woman in between two selfs undecided as to which she could remain loyal…”
[Quotes are written down from the audio so the punctuation may be off a little].
Two well-off Nigerian-British girls meet in school and become best friends. In college [University] they decide to live their lives a certain way and forgo marriage, family, etc, in favor of living for themselves. Temi is the driving force in the relationship. Her friend is more of a follower. But then the friend marries and not only does she no longer work, but she agrees to try for a baby. One child. Temi cannot take this–she sees it as betrayal. Meanwhile, the husband cannot stand Temi. The husband and wife are well suited to each other–they share a common vision of their life. But, Temi does not like this vision–there is not enough room in it for her and her influence on her friend. Each of the three chapters is told in the voice of first the wife, then the husband, and then Temi.
Wow! Like Lee Cole’s Groundskeeping, the animosity–no, hatred, I felt for Temi is a testament to the excellent writing of Ms. Agbaje-Williams. Temi, the friend from hell. Exactly what I imagine it is like to be friends with the wife of the author of WAAAH! of South Park fame. And this woman was friends with the husband’s sister? Amazing. I’ve thought a lot lately about how sick I am of the “I’m gonna f with you because I can” culture. Temi is the fictional post child of the movement. That’s how real she is in the book. Like the aforementioned Mrs. WAAAH!, you have to do the math to figure out if it’s better having her in the family or out. I was so unsettled by this character that I had to go for a walk afterwords. I can hear her asking “But, did you die? Did anyone die?” Wow. Wow. Wow.
“[Temi] is probably the only person in my life who has never wanted something from me–only for me.”
The wife believes this! Yet it is so obvious that Temi only wants to keep her trapped in their friendship because she is so unhappy. I kept wondering why the wife didn’t tell her friend to stop belittling her husband or to not come over, but WOW, I get it now. You’d have a full time job keeping this monster happy. “I’m staying forever” Temi said to the husband once. Won’t she just!
I sincerely hope Ms Agbaje-Williams writes more books! This had the impact of Muriel Sparks’ The Driver’s Seat and then some. Previously that was the most unsettling story for me (of the ones I went on to finish). That is high praise.
The Three of Us: A Novel by Ore Agbaje-Williams
R.I.P. Tina Turner
Tina and Elton–The Bitch is Back, the perfect song for this book!