“Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi follows Kambirinachi and her twin daughters Kehinde and Taiye in alternating points of view. Although they love each other, their familial relationship is complicated and often painful. The story, while it meanders into the particulars of each main character’s life, follows the thread of their relationship as it changes. The narrator subtly embodied the characters in a way where I didn’t really feel like I was listening to a performance, but was immersed in the story. This book is full of messy love of all kinds—familial, romantic, platonic (it has one of my favorite queer friendships I've ever read)—love of culture and food and home. True to title, it’s a mix of sweet, meaty, hearty, and oh so filling.”
Miriasha, Phoenix Books
2021 CANADA READS FINALIST
Longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize
An intergenerational saga about three Nigerian women: a novel about food, family, and forgiveness.
Butter Honey Pig Bread is a story of choices and their consequences, of motherhood, of the malleable line between the spirit and the mind, of finding new homes and mending old ones, of voracious appetites, of queer love, of friendship, faith, and above all, family.
Francesca Ekwuyasi’s debut novel tells the interwoven stories of twin sisters, Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. Kambirinachi feels she was born an Ogbanje, a spirit that plagues families with misfortune by dying in childhood to cause its mother misery. She believes that she has made the unnatural choice of staying alive to love her human family and now lives in fear of the consequences of that decision.
Some of Kambirinachi’s worst fears come true when her daughter, Kehinde, experiences a devasting childhood trauma that causes the family to fracture in seemingly irreversible ways. As soon as she’s of age, Kehinde moves away and cuts contact with her twin sister and mother. Alone in Montreal, she struggles to find ways to heal while building a life of her own. Meanwhile, Taiye, plagued by guilt for what happened to her sister, flees to London and attempts to numb the loss of the relationship with her twin through reckless hedonism.
Now, after more than a decade of living apart, Taiye and Kehinde have returned home to Lagos to visit their mother. It is here that the three women must face each other and address the wounds of the past if they are to reconcile and move forward.
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