Afi Tekple is a young seamstress in Ghana. She is smart; she is pretty, and she has been convinced by her mother to marry a man she does not know. Afi knows who he is, of course—Elikem is a wealthy businessman whose mother has chosen Afi in the hopes that she will distract him from his relationship with a woman his family claims is inappropriate.
... mesmerizing ... lives up to both the power of its first sentence and the promise of its author’s first name. This is not a book to read with one eye on a beach volleyball tournament; it’s a story to soak up in silence, on a long, cloudy afternoon when you have time to think ... You, the reader, are just along for the ride. At a time when adventure is scarce, Medie gives you a lot to look forward to, think about and be grateful for.
... an engaging, quietly provocative debut ... a well-paced story of awakenings, a coming-of-age tale where the girl is already married but has yet to grow up. From the outset, Adzo Medie gets us close to Aki, a heroine to root for, naive and courageous, compliant and ambitious, loyal to her husband and his family, but not to a fault ... there is an easy, fluid style to the writing, quick intimacy with character and a kind of innocent humour that recalls Rónán Hession’s Leonard and Hungry Paul, though the backdrops obviously differ immensely ... Throughout the book there are bright daubs of Ghanian life – kontomire and garden egg stew, the durbar at the yam festival, a neem tree, greetings and everyday phrases such as Woede or Ehn. It all flows remarkably well in a memorable debut from a writer whose frustrations with certain aspects of the culture of her homeland come brilliantly to life.
... arresting ... Medie gives Afi a voice that winningly combines insecurity, wisdom and dignity. Fashion and food contribute to a cultural backdrop ... The dramas of Afi's marriage and various family conflicts offer an entertaining plot rich with humor, but it is the story of the strong woman in a challenging and changing world that will capture readers' hearts. His Only Wife is a memorable novel of personal growth and choosing one's own destiny.