This story follows the lives of four women, all immigrants from different parts of Africa, in Antwerp's Red Light District. Though these women have their profession as prostitutes in common, their backgrounds are very different. Sisi, Ama, Efe, and Joyce spend their nights posing in windows, bringing men's fantasies to life, sharing their bodies but not their hearts. These women's histories stay closed within, and they trust no one with their dreams, not even each other. When a brutal murder takes the life of one of their own, the women are brought together in a twist of fate and they realize the more they talk and share with each other, the better off they are in finding the killer and remaining alive themselves. Their stories reveal so much about their pasts and the women discover that it may not be too late to realize their dreams of the future.
Best part of story, including ending:
This story was a wake up call in many ways but mostly in the light it shed on the underbelly of prostitution in a society where it is legal. It took a mental shift for me to begin putting these women's stories into perspective but once I made this shift I enjoyed the depth of reality the author explored.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is when Sisi arrives in Antwerp from Nigeria and we get to see this new world through her eyes. She is really naive and expects to find a world of glamor and beauty, but instead she only gets a taste of gruel and grit. This was a startling place in the novel because I felt her dreams begin to crumble in this scene when she begins to realize she'd left a middle class background in Nigeria for something so much worse.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked the fact that Sisi was educated but still naive enough to fall for Dele's exploitation. He is the pimp that lures them all to Antwerp, each with big dreams of making money and having a brighter future when the reality was they remained more indebted to him, losing a little bit more of their freedom each day.