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Publisher's Summary

2021 Canada Reads Finalist

Long-listed 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.

Bespeak Audio Editions brings Canadian voices to the world with audiobook editions of some of the country’s greatest works of literature, performed by Canadian actors.

©2021 Francesca Ekwuyasi (P)2021 Bespeak Audio Editions

What the critics say

“Spanning decades, this fast-paced debut novel moves from Lagos to Montreal, Halifax, and London as it traces the sorrows and triumphs of a pair of estranged twin sisters and their troubled mother.... The novel abounds with sex, death, and food - whose preparation offers these characters catharsis, knowledge, and sometimes simply pleasure.” (The New Yorker)

“The descriptions throughout the novel, from Taiye’s cooking to the feel of Lagos to the urgency of new love, invite readers to fully savor Ekwuyasi’s language. Mixing emotional depth with supernatural elements, this is a masterful debut.” (Booklist, starred review) 

“Ekwuyasi’s magical debut delves into the reverberating effects of a Nigerian mother’s choices on her twin daughters’ lives. The stories of Kambirinachi and her daughters, Taiye and Kehinde, unfold in lyrical, emotionally affecting parallel narratives.... Written in sizzling prose, Ekwuyasi’s assured, inspired debut will impress fans of Akwaeke Emezi.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

What listeners say about Butter Honey Pig Bread

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  • Overall
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a feast that I did not want to end

I feel inspired to learn more about the cuisine and culture described. So sensual and enticing. At times I was little lost because the mythology was so new and foreign to me.

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Incredible

The best read of 2021 so far, my heart is fluttering and I’m immediately listening to it again, I don’t want to leave the characters yet.

1 person found this helpful

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didn't want it to end

I loved the narration. Her accents were beautiful and her ability to change voices with each character was seamless. I became so connected to these characters through the authors wonderful storytelling.

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Stunning

A glorious debut! Magical, sensual, funny at times.

Everything I needed.

More thoughts here: https://youtu.be/mlsfK5TAkAo

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Beautiful story, excellent narration

The story is lush, captivating, and tender. The narrator is incredible- bouncing seamlessly between many different kinds of accents and cadence: Nigerian, British, Scottish, and Canadian. They even nailed the subtle bits, like how a person's accent can slip back to its native one when excited or angry. Overall, a well told beautiful story.

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  • Kennedy
  • 2021-02-28

Stick with this read...

Stick with this read even though it might seem like it's all over the place. You'll see it is well worth it by about the middle of the book. About midway is where things start to come together, and I thoroughly admire authors that weave complicated, disparate characters and magical realism into something that actually makes sense. Clever Francesca!

4 people found this helpful

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  • D. Stokes
  • 2021-07-11

Too LONGGGGG

This book was extremely hard to finish. It could have been completed in 3-4 hours. It was far too long. Unfortunately that took away from the story for me.

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  • Shenelle Williams
  • 2021-07-01

rich and sumptuous

I loved this book! The writing was decadent, smooth and warm. The relationships were carefully described and each character was well developed. I highly recommend this brilliant debut.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-06-29

Unusual but beautiful

i sometimes struggled to keep all the characters straight, but overall, the story was compelling bringing different relationships to the narrative.

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  • Hermi Marrero
  • 2021-05-27

I am in awe

This book is amazing. The narrator is incredible. This book took me places. A must!