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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

Critic Reviews

“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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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!

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Beautiful story

This book is stunning! It’s a must read! I definitely plan on re-reading it.

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it’s worth it

the first half can get confusing with the switches in narration, but it eventually came together and it was so worth it. the last few chapters, especially, were gratifying and searingly beautiful and i was so glad i stuck it out. recommend to anyone who will appreciate a meaningful story on forgiveness — of both yourself and others.

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You will not want the story to end

This story beautifully weaves the lives of three generations of women. Their thoughts, ghosts, loves, aspirations and fears. It takes us all over the world and then brings us back home for healing and reconciliation. The narration by. Amaka Umeh was on point. She did not miss an accent, or a nuanced speech. She made the story come alive.

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Madness and the Supernatural

A good read, lengthy, but deep. I'm caught between the themes of madness and the supernatural. It's easier to think of the supernatural as vampires, were animals, obeah and voodoo, but this obangje type of supernatural teetered on the insane. I guess it may be both and if so, this gives a whole new perspective on the mind of the 'mad'. The story is also very sad and lonely and makes me think of our differences despite our sameness.

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Delicious!

Loved the experience into a culture and world I would not have ever known.

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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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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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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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I am in awe

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

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  • Idy
  • 06-21-22

Fantastic story. An equally fantastic narrator!

What a rollercoaster of emotions this book gave me! I could see myself, as a whole and in parts, throughout. This is a book I'm not going to forget easily.

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  • Doyinsola
  • 01-04-22

Love it

Amazing book, love how food was interwoven into the story, I will recommend this every time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M.certified
  • 12-27-21

So beautiful

The different perspectives the story is told from really gives you a great insight. It manages to touch on so many important topics without feeling overwhelming or confusing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-21

Fantastic read

Most amazing book. Interesting story, deep and thoughtful. Beautifully written. Very touching. One of the best narrations I have heard.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mai G
  • 07-31-22

great read

what a gripping tale. The reader bought this story to life. I'll be looking into more of their titles.

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  • lthomas
  • 07-27-22

Amazing!

Highly recommend this book. It’s beautifully written with a wonderful story. The narrator traverses the various accents expertly.

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  • Annon
  • 10-02-21

The healing process

Love
Life
Redemption
Closure
Acceptance
Untethering
Understanding
Forgiveness
Congruence
Family
Familia

ìts all there... Brilliant

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-01-21

A story of 3 women holding onto eachother

This was a fantastic story. it is a slow start for sure but the story comes together beautifully and culminates in this beautiful story of women held together across time. What I love is the use of recipes/food throughout as maybe a metaphor of quality time and love? I don't know but so seamlessly done throughout. I don't have sisters but I have brothers I am close to and honestly it is beautiful to read the ease of siblings talking.