Ayobami Adebayo’s A Spell of Good Things Is a Tale of Two Families

The Nigerian writer’s second novel, the follow-up to 2017’s Stay with Me, will arrive in 2022.
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Ayobami Adebayo's first novel, Stay with Me. From Author's Facebook.

Ayobami Adebayo's first novel, Stay with Me. From Author's Facebook.

The Nigerian author Ayobami Adebayo has a new book forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canongate in the U.K. next year. Titled A Spell of Good Things, the novel charts the lives of two young Nigerians and their families amidst political unrest in the city.

Here is a description:

After a government edict cut his father’s job, Eniola’s family has been struggling to survive. His secondary school teachers beat him because of his unpaid fees, and his parents are behind on the rent and cannot pay for his apprenticeship at a tailoring shop. Nevertheless, he strives to make himself useful, folding wrappers and trying to forget about how he’s taunted by schoolmates.

Wuraola, the daughter of the tailoring shop’s most valued customer, is an exhausted young doctor who can barely catch any sleep as she works long hours in a public hospital. After her boyfriend proposes, their relationship accelerates towards marriage even as his darker side is exposed, risking her family’s spell of good things.

Meanwhile, Eniola becomes caught in a tangle of decisions that will bring him into collision with political forces in the city, and harm his family and Wuraola’s in the process. Following the lives of Eniola, Wuraola and their relatives, the novel traces the entwined fates of two families in a Nigerian city, one with all the fortune in the world and one that cannot catch a break.

A Spell of Good Things is Adebayo’s second novel, after 2017’s Stay with Me.

Ayobami Adebayo. From Author's Facebook.
Ayobami Adebayo. From Author’s Facebook.

Vice President and Executive Editor of Knopf Jennifer Jackson said, “There is no greater pleasure for an editor than to see an author deliver a second novel that exceeds all the promises made by a first. I fell in love with STAY WITH ME because of the passion, the longing, the wit, and the author’s ability to shatter my heart with a single phrase. A SPELL OF GOOD THINGS does all that and more, representing an enormously gifted writer who has decided to paint on an even larger canvas, offering us the story of two families and through them an entire country straining under the pains of corruption, violence, and inequality. It is truly a stunning step forward for a young writer who was already so impressive.”

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Ayobami Adebayo received critical acclaim for Stay With Me. Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and a finalist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the book was described by novelist Margaret Atwood as “Scorching, gripping, ultimately lovely.” It was also, notably, the subject of Michiko Kakutani’s last review for The New York Times.

Adebayo said about her new novel, “I began thinking about this novel in 2013, after a detour compelled me to realize what remained invisible to me in a town that I had long called home. While it has taken a few years to write a novel I hope illuminates the tangled longings of its characters, I’m excited to share it with readers.”

A Spell of Good Things will be released in June, 2022.

Paula Willie-Okafor
Paula Willie-Okafor is a staff writer at Open Country Mag. She is a student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she is custodian of The Writers' Community (TWC). Her writing has appeared in Kissing Dynamite Magazine and Praxis Magazine.

1 thought on “Ayobami Adebayo’s <em>A Spell of Good Things</em> Is a Tale of Two Families”

  1. this will totally smash! Did you read stay with me!? I finished the book under a day, a day!
    Abayomi is just an intruiging writer; I almost can’t wait for this sophomore.

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