Everything Good Will Come
5 1/4" x 8" • 336 pages
Winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature
Independent Publisher Book Awards-Finalist Multicultural Fiction
Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award-Honorable Mention
"A literary masterpiece... Everything Good Will Come put me into a spell from the first page to the very last... It portrays the complicated society and history of Nigeria through... brilliant prose."
--World Literature Today
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Everything Good Will Come introduces an important new voice in contemporary fiction. With insight and a lyrical wisdom, Nigerian-born Sefi Atta has written a powerful and eloquent story set in her African homeland. It is 1971, a year after the Biafran War, and Nigeria is under military rule--though the politics of the state matter less than those of her home to Enitan Taiwo, an eleven-year-old girl tired of waiting for school to start. Will her mother, who has become deeply religious since the death of Enitan’s brother, allow her friendship with the new girl next door, the brash and beautiful Sheri Bakare? This novel charts the fate of these two African girls; one who is prepared to manipulate the traditional system and one who attempts to defy it.
Written in the voice of Enitan, the novel traces this unusual friendship into their adult lives, against the backdrop of tragedy, family strife, and a war-torn Nigeria. In the end, Everything Good Will Come is Enitan’s story; one of a fiercely intelligent, strong young woman coming of age in a culture that still insists on feminine submission. Enitan bucks the familial and political systems until she is confronted with the one desire too precious to forfeit in the name of personal freedom: her desire for a child. Everything Good Will Come evokes the sights and smells of Africa while imparting a wise and universal story of love, friendship, prejudice, survival, politics, and the cost of divided loyalties.
Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She was educated there and in England, and also has an MFA from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in the Penguin Book of New Black Writing. In 2002, Atta won prizes in several genres: for a play in the BBC’s African Performance Competition, for a story in Zoetrope’s Short Fiction Contest, and an early version of Everything Good Will Come was short-listed for the Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa. This year, she has received awards from the BBC and Commonwealth Broadcasting Association for radio stories. Atta lives in Meridian, Mississippi, with her husband and daughter, and teaches at Meridian Community College. She lives in Mississippi with her husband Gboyega Ransome-Kuti, a medical doctor, and their daughter, Temi. To learn more about Sefi Atta, vistit her website.
"Everything Good Will Come is an original, witty coming-of-age tale: Tom Sawyer meets Jane Eyre, with Nigerian girls. Reading Everything Good....you can feel the dust and the sun... an iridescent introduction to a fascinating nation."
--The Observer Magazine (London)
"Skillful ... impressive debut novel...Thematically, her work is wide-ranging and yet powerfully focused, the different areas of concern drawn together so that they inform each other... Again and again Atta's writing tugs at the heart, at the conscience. At the same time, reflecting the resilience of the Logosians whose lives she explores, humour is almost constant, effervescent, most often with a satirical slant... There are no delusions in Atta's novel, no romanticisation or overstating of a case. Her work stands as a paean to her central character's strengths and her determination to combat oppression."
-- The Sunday Independent (Lesotho, Africa)
“Sefi Atta’s first novel is a beautifully paced stroll in the shoes of a woman growing up in a country struggling to find its post-Independence identity… The main characters are well realized, and the supporting cast -- campaigning journalist, put-upon mother-in-law, co-wives in a polygamous marriage, stroppy secretary -- avoid caricature. The relaxed tempo of the narrative allows for proper character development. Everything Good Will Come depicts the struggles women face in a conservative society. This is convincing; more remarkable is what the novel has to say about the need to speak out when all around is falling apart.”
-- Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Atta’s distinctive coming-of-age novel… will appeal to all readers interested in contemporary women’s stories and/or African culture. Recommended...”
“This lively first novel breaks new ground with a close-up, honest story of a contemporary Yoruba woman's coming-of-age in Lagos. Nigerian-born author Atta now lives in the U.S., and she offers a hilarious if angry take on the Western view of dark, noble, savage Africa 'with snakes and vines and ooga--booga dialect.' Yet with all the fast talk, this is a heartfelt drama of family, friendship, and community, especially among women. Enitan Taiwo always knows how privileged she is in her lawyer father's home. She sees the poverty and knows about the brutal military dictatorship. But it is not until politics invades her own family that she defies her kind husband and moves from bystander to activist. Never reverential, Enitan's first-person narrative reveals the dynamic diversity within the city, the differences across class, generation, gender, faith, language, tradition, and individual character. Differences, yes, but sometimes connections, too.”
"Again and again Atta's writing tugs at the heart, at the conscience. At the same time, reflecting the resilience of the Lagosians whose lives she explores, humour is almost constant, effervescent, most often satirical slant."
-- Sunday Independent, South Africa
"A contemporary rendering of the Nigerian female experience in the footsteps of Buchi Emecheta and Flora Nwapa. It brought the Lagos Queen's Drive, Dolphin Square and Surulere alive."
-- The Nigerian Guardian, Nigeria
"Sefi Atta's first novel has the nerve to redefine existing traditions of African storytelling. It confronts the familiar passions of a city and a country with unusual insights and a lyrical power pointing our literature to truly greater heights."
-- Odia Ofeimun, author of The Poet Lied
"What is beyond doubt is that Sefi writes brilliantly with instantly infectious wit."
-- Bashorun JK Randle, author of The Godfather Never Sleeps
"There is wit, intelligence and a delicious irreverence in this book. But it is Sefi Atta's courage in choosing to look at her fictional world through fiercely feminist lenses that I most admired."
-- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Purple Hibiscus
"An affirmation of faith in one's capacity, especially female and national, for self-realization."
-- Tanure Ojaide, author of Labyrinths of the Delta
"Everything Good Will Come is like listening to an old friend recounting and bringing up-to-date and to life the happenings in our beloved city of Lagos. From Ikoyi bordering the Marina, to the south nearing Yoruba towns, every part is reawakened and alive: red, throbbing, like the heartbeat of a healthy newborn... I was sorry when I came to the end." "[A] book of spirit and an inspiration for anyone who has ever been in opposition to societal or cultural norms." -- Kathleen Cain, Bloomsbury Review "This is a courageous story about friendship and self-discovery; it is a rallying cry to women to speak out in a world that tries to muzzle them."
-- Buchi Emecheta, author of The Joys of Motherhood
-- Helen Habila, author of Waiting for an Angel
"Things are working out towards their dazzling conclusions... so it is neither here nor there... what ticky-tackies we have saddled and surrounded ourselves with blocked our views, cluttered our brains."
--Ama Ata Aidoo, author of Our Sister Killjoy
In addition to building on the passion of great African women writers before her, Sefi Atta incorporates new social and metropolitan dynamics that inform post-colonial Nigerian realities, especially as they relate to the unique challenges that the young female has to contend with. Crafted in the manner of a skilled storyteller, her book is as engaging as it is enlightening.
-- Philip Effiong, Adjunct Associate Professor of English, University of Maryland University College, USA — Philip Effiong
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