Book Pairings: Xala & His Only Wife

If you liked His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie, I have a #bookrecommendation for you: Xala by Sembène Ousmane (Senegal, 1974).

This is the story of a prominent businessman with two wives and 11 kids, who in his 60s decides to marry a 19 year old. On his wedding day to his young third wife, he is stricken with Xala (impotence). The ripple effects will be felt in all aspects of his life.

This story is funny, witty and very entertaining. Meant to be a satire on post-colonial Senegal, it ends up saying a lot about capitalism, political corruption, and polygamy.

It is one of those books that once you finish it, you feel compelled to read it again from the beginning to see what clues you missed pointing at that ending that I didn’t see coming.


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