On Black Sisters’ Street, by Chika Unigwe

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Chisom’s mother agreed. ‘Yes, indeed. If only we had stayed in touch.’

A 2009 novel set in Belgium, about four women who have been trafficked from Nigeria for sex work in Antwerp (on Zwartzusterstraat, though in the novel the street name gets an extra ‘e’). Their back stories in Nigeria (and in one case Southern Sudan, as it then was) are well depicted, but the Antwerp sections are inconsistent, sometimes tightly described, but particularly towards the denouement at the end (which is signalled from the beginning) rather under-written in places. It’s important to give the victims of human trafficking their voices, and the novel asks and answers important questions, but I was a bit frustrated by the inconsistencies of structure and style. You can get it here.

This is the last blog post about a book that I finished in 2022, other than the Clarke nominees. (The last book I finished in December was Matt Ruff’s Sewer, Gas & Electric, but I have already written it up.)