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Unpacking the Mind of Oyinkan Braithwaite: Exploring “My Sister the Serial Killer” and Beyond

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I had the pleasure of sitting down with the incredibly talented author Oyinkan Braithwaite to discuss her international bestselling novel, “My Sister, the Serial Killer.” Filled with dark humor and insightful commentary on sisterhood, family dynamics, and society’s perception of beauty, Braithwaite’s debut novel has captivated readers around the world. Join me as we delve into the mind of this rising literary star and explore the inspiration behind her captivating and thought-provoking work.

Oyinkan Braithwaite is a Nigerian-British writer best known for her debut novel, “My Sister, the Serial Killer.” Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Braithwaite moved to the UK during her childhood and studied Law at Kingston University. Although she initially pursued a career in publishing, Braithwaite eventually turned to writing and quickly gained critical acclaim for her darkly comedic and thought-provoking storytelling. “My Sister, the Serial Killer” was shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize and has been praised for its sharp wit, gripping plot, and exploration of complex family dynamics. Braithwaite’s unique voice and fresh perspective have solidified her as a rising star in the literary world.

10 Thought-Provoking Questions with Oyinkan Braithwaite

1. Can you provide ten My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite quotes to our readers?

My Sister the Serial Killer quotes as follows:

a”Blood is thicker than water, but it’s also messier and leaves more stains.”

b”She wipes the ice cream from the corners of her mouth with the back of her hand, then licks it off.”

c”Her hands are restless, as if the knife has a mind of its own.”

d”He cannot fathom the thought of rotting away in a cell while their father lives out his days in comfort.”

e”She glances at her sister, who is watching him closely.”

f”Korede starts to panic. She is no good at lying, not on the spot, and especially not when it comes to her sister.”

g”Ayoola, more than Korede, knows how to charm.”

h”We avoid certain topics: Ayoola’s boyfriends, our father, Ayoola’s boyfriends, my lack of a boyfriend, Ayoola’s boyfriends, swollen feet, expectations of marriage, and Ayoola’s boyfriends.”

i”The one who watches out for you is the one you have to watch out for.”

j”There is something very direct about the way Ayoola looks at things, the absolute conviction in her eyes.”

2.”My Sister, the Serial Killer” is a unique blend of dark humor, suspense, and family dynamics. What inspired you to write a story about a woman who must grapple with her sister’s deadly habits while navigating their complicated relationship?

I was inspired to write “My Sister, the Serial Killer” by a desire to explore the complexities of family relationships and the dynamics between siblings. I wanted to delve into the idea of unconditional love and loyalty, even in the face of disturbing behavior. The unique blend of dark humor, suspense, and family dynamics allowed me to delve into the darker aspects of human nature while still finding moments of lightness and humor. The story evolved organically as I delved into the characters of Korede and Ayoola, exploring their bond and the lengths to which one would go to protect the other. Ultimately, I wanted to create a story that would challenge readers to question their own notions of loyalty, family, and morality.

3.The novel explores themes of loyalty, family bonds, and the lengths people will go to protect those they love. How did you approach balancing the darker elements of the story with moments of humor and humanity?

When I approached writing “My Sister, the Serial Killer,” I wanted to create a story that was both dark and humorous, exploring complex themes while still allowing moments of humanity to shine through. One way I balanced the darker elements of the story with humor was through the relationship between the two sisters, Korede and Ayoola. Their dynamic allowed for moments of levity even in the midst of tense situations. By delving into themes of loyalty and family bonds, I was able to bring depth to the characters and their actions, while also highlighting the lengths people will go to protect those they love. Ultimately, I wanted to create a story that was thought-provoking and engaging, while also allowing for moments of humor and humanity to resonate with readers.

4.The setting of Lagos, Nigeria, plays a significant role in the novel, providing a rich backdrop for the unfolding drama. How does the city’s atmosphere and culture influence the characters and the events that transpire in the story?

I would answer by saying that Lagos, Nigeria is more than just a setting in the novel – it is a character in itself. The chaotic, vibrant, and complex atmosphere of Lagos influences the actions and decisions of the characters in the story. The city’s fast-paced lifestyle, corruption, and societal norms all play a role in shaping the characters and the events that unfold. The characters navigate through the city’s unique blend of tradition and modernity, which adds a layer of tension and conflict to the narrative. Additionally, the cultural expectations and pressures in Lagos drive the characters to make choices that have far-reaching consequences. Overall, the city of Lagos serves as a backdrop that infuses the story with authenticity and depth, making it an integral part of the novel’s narrative.

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

5.The relationship between Korede and Ayoola is central to the novel, characterized by love, jealousy, and a sense of duty. How did you develop these complex sibling dynamics, and what do you hope readers take away from their interactions?

I developed the complex sibling dynamics between Korede and Ayoola by exploring themes of love, jealousy, and duty. These dynamics are shaped by their shared history, family expectations, and Ayoola’s dangerous behavior. Through their interactions, I hope readers will consider the complexities of familial relationships, the lengths we go to protect loved ones, and the moral dilemmas we face when loyalty conflicts with our own values. Ultimately, I aim to provoke thought about the consequences of enabling destructive behavior and the boundaries of unconditional love.

6.The novel challenges traditional notions of morality and justice, particularly in the context of family loyalty and societal expectations. How do you explore these themes through the lens of the characters’ actions and choices?

In my novel, “My Sister, the Serial Killer,” I challenge traditional notions of morality and justice by depicting how family loyalty and societal expectations can often conflict with what is considered right or ethical. Through the actions and choices of the characters, such as Korede’s decision to continuously cover up her sister Ayoola’s murders to protect her, I explore the complex nature of loyalty and the lengths people will go to in order to protect those they care about. The juxtaposition of familial duty and societal norms creates tension and forces readers to question where their own moral compass lies. Ultimately, I aim to show that morality is not always black and white, and that sometimes the lines between right and wrong can become blurred when faced with difficult choices.

7.Korede is a morally conflicted character who grapples with her sister’s actions and her own complicity in covering up the crimes. How did you approach developing Korede’s internal struggles and moral dilemmas throughout the narrative?

In developing Korede’s internal struggles and moral dilemmas throughout the narrative, I aimed to portray her as a complex character who is torn between her loyalty to her sister and her own sense of right and wrong. Korede grapples with the tension between her love for Ayoola and her growing unease with her sister’s actions. I wanted to show how Korede’s sense of duty and responsibility towards her family clash with her own morals and values, leading to a constant inner conflict. I approached developing Korede’s internal struggles by delving into her thoughts and emotions, highlighting her internal debates and rationalizations as she struggles to come to terms with her sister’s actions and her own complicity in covering them up. Overall, I wanted to create a character who is morally conflicted and complex, offering readers a nuanced exploration of the complexities of human nature.

8.”My Sister, the Serial Killer” has been praised for its sharp wit, engaging storytelling, and unique premise. How do you infuse humor into a story with such dark subject matter, and what do you believe humor adds to the overall tone of the novel?

I infused humor into “My Sister, the Serial Killer” by using a dark comedic tone that serves as a counterbalance to the serious subject matter. By incorporating sardonic wit and sharp one-liners, I was able to bring a sense of levity to the story without diminishing the gravity of the situation. Humor adds an element of unpredictability and complexity to the characters, allowing readers to engage with them on a more human level. It also provides a sense of relief and catharsis amidst the tension and darkness of the plot, making the story more enjoyable and thought-provoking. Ultimately, humor adds depth and nuance to the overall tone of the novel, offering a fresh and compelling perspective on themes of family, loyalty, and morality.

9.The title of the novel is both provocative and intriguing, setting the stage for a story that defies expectations. How did you come up with the title, and what significance does it hold in relation to the themes and characters of the book?

I chose the title “My Sister, the Serial Killer” because I wanted to create a sense of tension and intrigue right from the start. The title immediately raises questions and sets the tone for the darkly comedic and twisted story that follows. The relationship between the two sisters, Korede and Ayoola, is at the heart of the book, and the title emphasizes their complicated dynamic. It also hints at the central theme of loyalty and the lengths we go to protect the ones we love, even when they may not deserve it. Ultimately, the title serves as a reflection of the complexities of family ties and the blurred lines between love and responsibility, adding an additional layer of depth to the narrative.

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

10. Can you recommend more books like My Sister the Serial Killer?

1. Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn – A dark and twisted tale of family dysfunction and a mysterious murder investigation.

2. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins – A psychological thriller centering around a woman who becomes entangled in a missing person case.

3. “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn – A gripping thriller about a woman who witnesses a crime while spying on her neighbors.

4. “Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll – A suspenseful novel about a woman with a dark past that comes back to haunt her.

5. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn – A thriller that delves into the complexities of relationships and the danger of secrets.

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