The primary female character of the novel. Esi is a strong,
well-educated, and independent woman who, at the start of the novel, lives with
her husband, Oko, and their daughter, Ogyaanowa. Esi works at the Department of
Urban Statistics and often brings her work home with her. After being raped by
her husband, Esi decides to seek a divorce. She wants to live an independent
life in which she prioritizes her career and is free from the traditional
boundaries imposed by marriage. When she falls in love with Ali Kondey and
agrees to become his second wife, she thinks she may have found the perfect
arrangement. However, her marriage to Ali leaves her feeling terribly alone and
in-depth analysis of Esi Sekyi.
Esi’s second husband and the managing director of Linga HideAway
Travel. Ali is a very handsome and well-educated man. The son of a traveling,
polygamist father, Ali is the embodiment of a cosmopolitan man. He happily
claims several different nationalities as his own, and he spends much of his
life traveling from one part of the world to another. He grows up and marries
his childhood friend and first love, Fusena. Drawn to Esi’s beauty and
independence, he takes her as a second wife but quickly begins to spend less and
less time with her. Ali is a self-absorbed man who tries to use his money to
placate Esi and his wife. He is, above all, a traveler—a man who spends his life
moving from one woman and destination to the next. Ali continues his multiple
affairs throughout his marriage to Esi.
in-depth analysis of Ali Kondey.
Esi’s first husband. Oko, despite his differences and difficulties
with Esi, continues to love her very deeply. Raised in a traditional household,
he tries to get Esi to adapt to a more standard form of marriage. He wants to
have another child, and he wants to spend more time with his wife, who is
constantly traveling or working. His desire for Esi to be a traditional wife
eventually causes him to rape her, which leads to their divorce. He never fully
accepts their divorce, even though he takes on a new young wife given to him by
his mother. He becomes increasingly bitter toward Esi and her remarriage to Ali,
an emotion that culminates in his violent confrontation with Esi at her
in-depth analysis of Oko Sekyi.
The daughter of Esi and Oko. As a young child, Ogyaanowa is caught in
the middle of her parents’ frequent fights and eventual divorce. These
experiences will clearly haunt her later in life. She is shuffled back and forth
between her parents, but she is primarily raised by her father and her father’s
mother. Although she loves her mother, she is clearly much more comfortable
spending time at her grandmother’s house than in the empty home where her mother
Esi’s best friend. Opokuya is a dedicated wife and a loving mother.
She works long hours as a nurse while also raising a family. She constantly
fights with her husband over control of their car. During Esi’s crises, she
always turns to Opokuya for love, support, and understanding. Compared to Esi,
Opokuya is a much more traditional female figure. Both at work and at home,
Opokuya is a constant source of support and compassion—a woman who frequently
sacrifices her own needs for others’.
in-depth analysis of Opokuya Dakwa.
Opokuya’s husband. Kubi is a slightly arrogant and self-absorbed. He
constantly controls the car, despite his wife’s legitimate need for it. He is
friends with Oko, and as such, is hostile toward Esi following her divorce. At
the end of the novel, he attempts to sleep with Esi, which again reveals his
self-centered nature. Like Oko, Kubi is representative of a traditional
patriarchal figure. His arrogance and concern only for himself causes him to
slight his wife and family.
in-depth analysis of Kubi Dakwa.
Ali’s first wife. Fusena has known Ali since they were young
children. Following her marriage to Ali and the birth of her first child, Fusena
abandons her career and education. She longs to finish school and get her degree
but is constantly held back by Ali, who insists that he can earn enough money to
support the family. She tries to resist Ali’s desire for a second marriage but
is eventually coaxed into it by the elder women of Ali’s family. She is
resentful of the fact that Ali has chosen a woman with a university degree to be
his second wife, given that he prevented her from completing her degree. She is
a somewhat tragic figure in that she has sacrificed her independence and career
for a husband who not only takes a second wife but also continues to have
multiple affairs with numerous other women.
in-depth analysis of Fusena Kondey.
The sister of Ali’s father. Following the death of Ali’s mother, Mma
Danjuma raises Ali as her own son. She advocates for him to be educated in the
French schools and plays a critical role in arranging Ali’s marriage to Fusena.
Although she is initially resistant to Ali taking Esi as a second wife, she is
eventually able to accept Esi (to a limited degree).
Musa Musa (Ali Baba)
Ali Kondey’s father. Musa Musa spent his life acquiring wealth and
traveling throughout the continent. He has a fondness for young women and is
continually acquiring new wives, along with his artifacts. Much like his son, he
is an arrogant man who believes at least partially in his own immortality. For
Musa Musa, the entire world can either be purchased or seduced by
Esi’s grandmother. Nana is a very traditional woman who has a hard
time accepting her daughter’s decision to divorce Oko, whom she views as a
respectable and loving husband.