A Spell of Good Things is a novel by Nigerian author Ayobami Adebayo. Eniola is tall for his age, a boy who looks like a man. His father has just lost his job as a history teacher, so Eniola spends his days running errands for the local tailor and dreaming of a bigger future — one where he can attend a good school and get a worthwhile education. Wuraola is the perfect child of a wealthy family. Now an exhausted doctor in her first year of practice, she is beloved by Kunle, her volatile partner. Their lives become intertwined when a local politician takes an interest in Eniola, and violence erupts in Wuraola's home.
Like Adebayo's debut novel, Stay With Me, A Spell of Good Things is filled with mesmerising prose that cements her status as an exceptional storyteller. She captures the bustling streets of Nigeria, vividly conveying the sights, sounds, and smells that make the setting come to life as well as the stark divide between rich and poor. Furthermore, Adebayo deftly develops her characters, making them feel like real people rather than just fictional constructs. This is even the case for the minor characters in the novel, especially the teenage girls Bùsọ́lá and Mọ́tárá, who are incredibly admirable for their spirited natures. By the end of the book, the story comes full circle, providing a satisfying conclusion while also suggesting the inevitability of the characters' circumstances. This powerful ending was sobering, adding an unforgettable quality to the novel.
Moreover, The novel's themes are both powerful and thought-provoking. One of the standout explorations is that of male pride and its dangerous consequences. Adebayo delves into the dynamics of toxic and abusive relationships, depicting Wuraola's struggle to leave her violent partner Kunle. This theme is further explored through Eniola's story and his involvement with a corrupt politician. Ultimately, the devastating consequences of male pride are made clear through the deaths of Wuroala's father and Eniola's sister.
Overall, A Spell of Good Things is an unforgettable and insightful novel that showcases Adebayo's exceptional storytelling abilities. It is a powerful exploration of complex themes, such as classism, the female spirit and male pride.