Kehinde

By Buchi Emecheta

316 ratings - 3.88* vote

Kehinde is a Nigerian woman, unsure of herself, not quite certain she has the right to be happy. With her husband, Albert, she has made a home in London, and has a promising career when Albert decides they should return to Nigeria. Kehinde is loath to do so, and joins him later, reluctantly, only to discover that he has taken a second, younger wife. Her years in England ha Kehinde is a Nigerian woman, unsure of herself, not quite certain she has the right to be happy. With her husband,

... more

Book details

Paperback, 160 pages
February 22nd 1994 by Heinemann Educational Books
Original Title
Kehinde
ISBN
0435909851 (ISBN13: 9780435909857)
Edition Language
English

Community Reviews

Kansas

La búsqueda de independencia y de encontrarse a si misma de Kehinde, una mujer nigeriana que lleva 18 años viviendo en Inglaterra junto a su marido, Albert, hasta que éste decide de repente volver a la patria, arrastrando a su mujer e hijos, casi en contra de la voluntad de ella. Pero el regreso a Nigeria no es para Kehinde lo que le había prometido su marido y más que a la vuelta al hogar de su infancia, se convierte en una pesadilla porque ella, que se ha occidentalizado durante todos estos años, entra en conflicto y le cuesta gestionar el trato en segundo plano a la mujer en Nigeria. Albert ha cambiado y toma una segunda esposa, con lo cual Kehinde no sólo tiene que enfrentarse a la poligamia sino a quedarse callada y a asumir que ella ya no tiene ni voz ni voto como en Inglaterra: es una ciudadana de segunda categoría. Kehinde es una mujer en continuo conflicto entre dos culturas: la más tradicional e hiperpatriarcal de su patria y la occidental que elige para vivir y encontrar su camino.

Buchi Emecheta es una de mis escritoras favoritas y es una pena que en España no esté siendo editada cuando los temas de los que habla están tan de "moda" hoy en día: el empoderamiento de la mujer, la lucha por subsistir, por encontrar el camino a través de la educación y del trabajo. Es una escritora que habla de temas universales, soberbia en su sabiduría y por haber vivido todos estos pesares en carne propía antes de encontrar su camino a través de la escritura. Es una novela que engancha desde el primer instante por el estilo tan sencillo y auténtico de Buchi Emecheta, cortito y adictivo, se puede leer en una tarde, casi sin respiro. En Kehinde podemos reconocernos cualquiera de nosotras, una novela de estos tiempos por como Kehinde consigue conciliar las dos culturas, la de su infancia y la cultura que la acoge. Os recomiendo que os adentreis en el universo de esta escritora emocionante y tan de ahora a pesar de sus libros llevan ya años escritos :-)

Y desde aquí hago una petición a las editoriales para que la traigan a España, para que resuciten sus novelas y se la conozca más, ya que es una escritora que lo merece!!!

Li Sian

Reading Kehinde was a real treat, by turns devastating and joyful, and I'm so glad I picked it up. Kehinde tells the story of a Nigerian woman living in Britain whose husband decides to return to Nigeria for the newly-arrived economic opportunities to be found there and - more ominously - the "respect" he'd get as a big man, and the sense of fulfilment he'd attain being with his family, especially his sisters, whose intervention already causes Kehinde substantial uneasiness. Kehinde has doubts about this proposed return - she enjoys their life in London, and she has a good job at a bank, in fact earning more than Albert does at his job. When she tells Albert she's pregnant, he pressures her to have an abortion.

The power of this novel is to be found in its brevity and stark, plain language in speaking to patriarchy, power structures, familial coercion, and plain old cruelty. There's somehow something very striking about how Kehinde's life is changed without warning and then continues to unravel from thereonin - and something so uniquely identifiable, too, about how people you love and trust can suddenly change or show a side you weren't previously aware of. Emecheta is uniquely accomplished in depicting these about-faces, these commonplace betrayals, as a function of Nigerian classed and family structure. What holds it together is how unremarkable Kehinde first is, before the plot develops, and how complicit she was in those structures before they turned in on her.

There's also a subplot about the spirit of Kehinde's dead twin which, if I have to be honest, wasn't as developed as it could be, but did add an eerie, unsettling power to the story. Ultimately, though, this isn't a depressing novel, it's a story about joy and redemption, told in the most understated way possible: one of my very favourite parts was how she and best friend were able to forgive each other and help each other out (and one of my favourite lines in the novel is Moriammo's epistolatory aside: "By the way, the interest I mentioned earlier is a joke, just in case Nigeria has made you lose your sense of humour. You keep the money. It's a way of saying I am sorry for being such a wet blanket."). And how also, at the end of the day, the narrative was able to deliver sweet justice to Albert and Rike while having Kehinde be able to float away good-naturedly and live well, which is, of course, the sweetest revenge.

Hani Batrisya

Brilliant and thought provoking! Makes me want to read her other works!

Cikin

Great portrayal of Nigerian immigrants in London. Absolutely love how Kehinde stands up for herself by running away from the oppressing tradition that was imposed on women.

Rebecca

Interesting take on the experience of Nigerian immigrants in London, return to Nigeria, woman's awakening to herself in the face of conflicts with her culture.

Heather

I read this in my Modern British lit class, and I was enthralled. While it isn't the sort of thing I would've picked up on my own, I'm glad I read it. It's awesome because it explores the intersection of race, identity, gender, nationality and post-colonialism in such a simple but powerful way. It's short, too!

Laurie

this book was interested story of a Nigerian woman in Britain in the 1960's and her struggle to get free from oppressive Nigerian culture. I was not that impressed with the writing style. Too often she had to tell you the point she was trying to make rather than letting the story do it.

Ollie Eubany

I ordered this book online and waited expectedly since I had read several books by Buchi Emecheta and the wait was worth it. The only problem was it was too short. The book highlights the difference in a Nigerian family living in England and living in Nigeria.

Katherine Brown

Many people do not think of immigration in other countries outside of the United States, however many people see refuge in more developed countries around the world. This book is a great depiction of a woman's struggle within her own culture for freedom.

Topics