On Black Sisters Street tells the stories of four women living together in Antwerp’s red light district. Ama, Efe, Joyce and Sisi are all illegal immigrants, having been brought to Belgium by Dele, a “big man” in Lagos who makes his money exporting Nigerian women to Europe to work as prostitutes. Though these four women cook together, clean together, and gossip together, they are still almost strangers, having never told one another of their respective pasts. Only when one of them is suddenly murdered do the three remaining women turn to each other, telling their stories and revealing their real names.
“These same streets she had walked before seemed to have acquired a certain newness. Humming, relishing the notion of new beginnings, she thought of how much her life was changing: Luc. Money. A house. She was already becoming someone else. Metamorphosing, she told herself, recalling the word from biology class. Sloughing off a life that no longer suited her. What she did not know, what she would find out only hours from now, was just how absolute the transition would be.”
Chika Unigwe was born in Nigeria and now lives in Belgium with her family. She writes in both Dutch and English; Night Dancer and On Black Sisters Street are her only works currently published in English.
Length: 258 pages
Set in: Antwerp, Belgium and Nigeria
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