In May’s breezy if overdramatic debut, the mutual friendship of three Anglo-Nigerian women is threatened by an interloper, a Russian Nigerian on a revenge trip. Isobel Adams holds a particular grudge against each of the successful and ambitious women who have been best friends for 17 years. There’s Boo, one of the numerous children Isobel’s father had with multiple women; Ronke Tinubu, the daughter of the man who had an affair with Isobel’s mother, and who now dates the man Isobel wants; and Simi, Isobel’s friend since they were five years old, who describes Isobel in a conversation with the others as “embarrassingly rich,” and whose father has been in a longtime feud with Isobel’s. May’s characters, despite all their accomplishments and intelligence—Ronke is a dentist, Boo has a PhD in bioinformatics, and Simi works as a brand executive for a fashion house—are easily taken in by Isobel, due to Isobel’s willingness to help open doors for them. After Isobel manipulates her way into the trio’s lives, someone in their orbit winds up violently killed. While some of Isobel’s destructive behavior is outlandishly implausible, May’s nuanced exploration of race and gender makes this refreshing. This will leave readers intrigued to see what May does next. (Jan.)
I got so immersed in the lives of Simi, Ronke and Boo, such flawed, lovable women, I just raced through Wahala. Nikki May writes so well about friendship, food, fashion and the many ways modern women can stumble in their careers and personal lives.
If And Just Like That... isn't exactly satisfying your modern Sex and the City itch, may we present to you Wahala. This dazzling debut centers on three Anglo-Nigerian best friends and the glamorous fourth woman who infiltrates their group....We couldn't help but wonder if they might need something stronger than a cosmopolitan to survive this.
Pull up a seat at the brunch table for this delicious debut novel, as the lives of three friends are unsettled by a seductive interloper. WAHALA is like the best gossip with friends: witty, tense, and entirely addictive.
"Witty, boldly contemporary, and sharply observed, this book is an illicit peek into the very secret lives of womentheir fears and desires, their weaknesses and dreams, their relationships between each other and with a world too often fraught with prejudice and class divides. This is a must-read debut by a brilliant new voice in fiction."
"Wow, what a debut! Brilliant writing about food and friendship, warm and fun, and I loved watching the more sinister side to the story emerge. Fantastic!"
"Contemporary female friendship goes glam in this lively debut novel with remarkable depth."
"If you loved My Sister, The Serial Killer, and Expectation, this is a must-read. My only regret is not being able to read it beside a glittering swimming pool while sipping a cocktail!"
DEBUT May seamlessly weaves love, betrayal, self-reflection, and Nigerian food, clothing, and customs into this fast-paced debut. The Naija Posse is the nickname of three Anglo Nigerian best friends who live in London; all three are children of mixed-race marriages that were taboo in the 1970s. Single Ronke is a dentist and talented cook, specializing in Nigerian cuisine—jollof, moin-moin, pounded yam—but she yearns to have her own family. Simi is a successful businesswoman who's almost sure she doesn't want a baby, although her husband does. Boo is a wife and the mother to four-year-old Sophia, but she longs to get back to her career. When Simi's childhood friend Isobel, a wealthy Anglo Nigerian "glamazon," inserts herself into the group, each woman soon becomes disillusioned with her life. Isobel is wahala—trouble. Under the guise of friendship, she manipulates the women to reconsider their identities and take risky chances that lead to heartache. Then Isobel has a shocking revelation that will either strengthen the Naija Posse's bond or tear it apart. VERDICT Fans of domestic suspense will revel in this tale of friendship, family, and forgiveness, set in the cultural milieu of Lagos.—K.L. Romo, Duncanville, TX
Three women unwittingly welcome a sinister presence into their friendship, wreaking havoc on their lives.
Ronke, Boo, and Simi have been friends for 17 years, since they met at university in Bristol. All mixed-raced Nigerian British women, they bonded over their shared identities. But now, at 35, though they remain constant presences in each other's lives, they're on very different paths: Ronke is a successful dentist, but she can’t get her flaky boyfriend, Kayode, to commit; Boo is married to mild-mannered Didier, with whom she shares precocious 5-year-old Sofia, but she feels trapped by their domestic routine; Simi is happily married to her husband, Martin, but she struggles with impostor syndrome at work and with Martin’s desire to have a child she’s not sure she’ll ever be ready for. Then Isobel enters their lives. When Simi’s childhood friend suddenly reappears, she ingratiates herself with the group. Flashy and wealthy, at first Isobel seems to offer excitement and encouragement to each of the women in turn. But when the foundations of the three friends’ lives grow more unsteady, her presence lurks in the cracks. The author builds a propulsive reading experience as she slowly reveals Isobel’s manipulations while keeping the reasons behind them hidden. Compelling character studies of each of the women don’t shy away from the jealousies and judgments that sometimes make the line between friend and enemy razor thin. But once the climax is reached, it’s clear that not all the narrative pieces fit together. Dropped threads (Ronke deals with a stalker who has no bearing on the overall plot; discussions of colorism and internalized racism are never fully explored) and missed opportunities (Isobel is written as a caricature of destruction, with no voice of her own) keep the book from greatness.
A fascinating look at the dark side of female friendship.
I devoured it, Nikki May’s voice is sharp, precise unapologetic, and modern. In one word – Exquisite!
"I couldn't get enough of the four women at the heart of Nikki May's utterly winning debut novel, WAHALA. Every evening, I sank into my bubble bath, eager to return to the lives of May's deep and complex characters: Simi, Ronke, Boo, and the fabulous (but maybe evil) Isobel. Their loves and wahala ("trouble") brought to mind Sex & the City but felt more modern, more real. When I closed Nikki May's delicious, hilarious novel, I felt I was returning to joy. I knew it was time to call my friends...time to get into some good wahala of my own."
"Brilliant… a funny, tragic, piercing portrait of modern women and friendship, written in glittering and discerning prose."
This has bestseller written all over it. Fast-paced, funny, shocking, unputdownable. I loved it.”
"This is one of those books you want to crawl inside and inhabit. I loved hanging out with Simi, Ronke and Boo and I miss them already."