Tomi Obaro, who currently lives in Brooklyn and works as a Deputy Cultural Editor at BuzzFeed News, has a relationship with Windy City.She’s alum at the University of Chicago and she’s Chicago ReaderWas an assistant editor in, and Chicago Magazine for about 3 years. In her debut novel, Dele Weds DestinyWith Knopf in June this year, a Nigerian-American writer tells the interlocking story of his unlikely friends Enitan, Zainab, and Funmi, who formed a bond while attending college in Zaria. increase.
Thirty years after that period of inseparable intimacy-the decades they have lived a distinctly different life-three women rendezvous in Lagos for the wedding of Funmi’s daughter Destiny. As they travel and prepare for a gorgeous celebration, they look back on the shared separate history and dreams, betrayal and loyalty. By the time of the novel’s amazing climax, Ovalo has offered an intense and incidental expedition of friendship, culture, class, and love.
Why did you decide to tell the story using a rotating perspective so that the reader can see the event through each of the “trio” eyes? What is possible that was not possible from a single perspective?
It was an almost organic decision for me. As soon as I thought about the characters, I wanted to write from the perspectives of Enitan, Hunmi, and Zaynab. And writing from multiple perspectives is also inherently interesting to me. If you don’t feel like you’re limited to one character, there’s room for imagination.
You open the book with the image of food — “they are eating something out of the frame, maybe, or maybe Eve” — and the food works prominently everywhere. I like how this positions readers in Nigerian culture, and how it reminds me of a reading club serving some food at their meetings. When reading clubs discuss this story, what do you want them to talk about, and why?
There are no expectations. Hope it causes a lot of conversations!
Early on, women are “essentially sisters,” and you say that is one of the most important motifs. Why do you focus so vividly on this notion of friendship and figurative sisterhood?
I’ve always been fascinated by long-lasting friendships and novels about how they change over time. And I was also inspired by the relationship between her mother and her two best friends. I also thought it would be fun to compose a book around a wedding, but focusing on friendship at the heart of the novel is in contrast to a disproportionate amount of attention-grabbing romantic love.
The various mother-daughter relationships between these women are often messy, and you show how young women can better get support and guidance from older women who are not necessarily relatives. How could you write this compelling way about both youth and middle age, and the dynamics between these generations?
Thank you for thinking I’ve done it! The depiction may seem a bit unpleasant, but I actually tried to write from the place of empathy for each character.
What other novels and novelists did you get your inspiration from?
I searched for a domestic novel by an African female writer.I read a semi-autobiographical novel by Buchi Emecheta Second-class citizen And Maria Maber’s Very long letter, for example. Both of those books were cruelly honest about the reality that they were women for a set period of time, and both authors wrote later in life that I personally felt inspiring.
How long did it take to write this novel, and how did you balance your editorial duties with your own creative projects?
I started writing in the summer of 2019 and finished writing in the spring of 2020. Early on, I was very motivated and could write anytime, anywhere. On the train, on my phone after work and before work. Then, after the first rush of adrenaline, I had to force myself to be more trained about it. However, editing is not writing, so I found it fairly easy to get both done well. When I wrote in the morning, I didn’t feel like I was using the same part of my brain.
You portray Lagos in affectionate but critical warts and all details, not only as a physical space, but also as a symbol of energy and vitality, class inequality and resentment, beauty and abuse. Draw a picture of the city. Was the city always very prominent in the book until it became almost as important and lively as the character?
Yes, I knew Lagos had a place in the book. It was a very chaotic place and it was natural to put some of the books there.
If you can say, what’s next?
In fact, I’m mainly working on a novel set in Chicago!
Dele Weds Destiny Follows Women’s Friendship Over Time – Chicago Magazine
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