'A Bit of Difference' by Sefi Atta


Bukola Akinyemi - @bukolayemi

Atta's third novel (after Everything Good Will Come and Swallow) tells the tale of Deola Bello, an unmarried Nigerian woman dangerously approaching 40 who lives in London. She is internally dissatisfied living as an expatriate and feels she is locked in a 'system' that's built to keep her down.


Through the course of the novel, we meet Deola's eccentric friends and semi-dysfunctional family back home in Lagos, and watch Deola's life nearly spiral out of control when she meets the enigmatic Wale.


Atta does well in painting a picture of the perspectives, cognizance and idiosyncrasies of Nigerians who grew up in the 1960s, when Nigeria was fresh out of independence, when it was drastically different to what it is today. At times, however, I felt Atta was trying too hard to tell a story, going off into long bursts of narratives which sometimes seemed ill-placed and unnecessary. In addition -- and this might be Atta's signature -- the novel seemed to end too abruptly.

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