• The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives

  • A Novel
  • By: Lola Shoneyin
  • Narrated by: Lola Shoneyin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (166 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Soon to be a Netflix series!

Award-winning author Lola Shoneyin delivers an irresistible and entertaining story of marriage, family, power, and heartache set in modern-day Nigeria in her debut novel.

When Baba Segi woke up with a bellyache for the sixth day in a row, he knew it was time to do something drastic about his fourth wife’s childlessness. 

For Baba Segi, his collection of wives and gaggle of children are a symbol of prosperity, success, and a validation of his manhood. All is well in this patriarchal home, until Baba arrives with wife number four, a quiet, college-educated, young woman named Bolanle. Jealous and resentful of this interloper who is stealing their husband’s attention, Baba’s three wives, begin to plan her downfall. How dare she not know her place, they whisper. How dare she offer to teach them to read. They will teach her instead, they vow, and open their husbands eyes to this wicked wind who has upturned the tranquility of their home. 

Bolanle’s mother worked hard to educate her daughter and save her from a life of polygamy and dependence. She cannot understand why her daughter has chosen such a fate. But Bolanle hides a terrible secret - a secret that will unwittingly exposes the deception and lies, secrets and shame upon which Baba Segi’s household rests. 

A stirring rale of men and women, mothers and children, servitude and independence, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives illuminates the common threads that connect the experiences of all women: the hardships they bear, their struggle to define themselves, and their fierce desire to protect those they love.

©2021 Lola Shoneyin (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives

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  • Overall
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Perfect narration

As a nigerian who rarely gets to hear audio books set in Nigeria narrated in the right accent, I was overjoyed to listen to this wonderful book narrated by the author herself. It felt like listening to gossip that I wasn't supposed to hear at my mom and aunts feet as a kid.
The story was brilliantly written, the twists and turns revealed themselves at a deliciously perfect pace.
Wonderfully written and narrated.

7 people found this helpful

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Long-winded, sadistic, overly theatrical, and sad.

I wanted to enjoy this book, but from the beginning I found the writing to be excruciatingly descriptive, particularly when describing anything putrid, sad, or sadistic. Midway through, I was so disgusted and annoyed by the melodramatic performance, overly detailed descriptions of the characters' bodily functions and suffering, I couldn't wait for it to be over. I suffered through to the end just to have closure.

3 people found this helpful

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Beautiful, haunting and evocative

I have read this wonderful book every year since 2012. I was so excited to learn that the audiobook was going to be out in January, and waited for months with bated breath. I am so happy that the author read the book herself, because she does it with such finesse, humor and confidence.

If you want a story that touches you and turns you inside out, a story that brilliantly captures Nigerian life in certain circles, then this is the book to get.

3 people found this helpful

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Wow!

I enjoyed everything about this book! The author’s narration was superb and brought it to life. Didn’t want it to end.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderfully imaginative and deep

I was thrilled from the beginning to the end in this imaginative tale of connection and disharmony. Set in Africa with many interesting cultural differences there are inner dynamics that develop over time.

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Just Awesome

I didn't really know what to expect but this book was captivating, I could not wait to find the time to get back to it. The pace was good and the plot just kept getting better.

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very enjoyable listen

I could see the story as the story teller (and author) read each word. a very, very good read.

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So good

What a story! A1 performance by the author. Performed it like it was meant to be read. The grunts and heavy sighs and emotion. Well done!

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wow

was not expecting it to end like that but I am glad it did.

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Perfection

Loved everything about this book when I first read it in 2012 and then in 2013, listening to the author read it with so much poise was so appealing to me.