Age Recommendation: ADULT
***NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT***
Summary of Concerns: This book contains sexual activities; sexual assault; and nudity.
22 He was still in his uniform, and Effia could tell that he’d had a long day by the way his lapel drooped. She helped him pull off his cat and shirt and she pressed her body against his, as Adowa had taught her. Before he could register his surprise, she grabbed his arms and pushed him to the bed. Not since their first night together had he been this timid, afraid of her unfamiliar body, the full-figured flesh, so different from how he had described his wife. Excited now, he pushed into her, and she squeezed her eyes as tightly as she could, her tongue circling her lips. He pushed harder, his breathing heavy and labored. She scratched his back, and he cried out. She bit his ear and pulled his hair. He pushed against her as through he were trying to move through her. And when she opened her eyes to look at him, she saw something like pain written across his face and the ugliness of the act, the sweat and blood and wetness they produced became illuminated, and she knew that if she was an animal tonight, then he was too.
41 When she heard the soft moaning, the quickened breath, she turned to face the wall of the hut. Once, just once, she had watched them where they lay, the darkness helping to cover her curiosity. Her father was hovering over her mother’s body, mobbing softly at first, and then with more force. She couldn’t see much, but it was the sounds that had interested her. The sounds her parents made together, sounds that walked a thin line between pleasure and pain. Esi both wanted and was afraid to want. So she never watched again.
47 One of them grabbed a woman on the far end and pushed her against the wall. His hands found her breasts and then began to move down the length of her body, lower and lower still, until the sound that escaped her lips was a scream
48 He put her on a folded tarp, spread her legs, and entered her. She screamed, but he placed his hand over her lips, then put his fingers in her mouth.
101 For the entire week after, his body had taken over the excuse-making for him, his penis lying limp between his legs each time he went to her. Even on the nights she braided her hair the way he liked it and rubbed coconut oil on her breasts and between her thighs.
116 They kissed, and whatever clothes Anna hadn’t gotten to, Jo made quick work of removing. He tasted her and could feel more than hear the pleasure it sent through her body like a current, the way she stifled her moans so the kids wouldn’t wake up, and expert at that after many nights and seven children. They worked quickly and quietly together, hoping the dark would mask their motions if one of the children happened to be peering through the curtain, unable to sleep. Jo grabbed onto Anna’s butt with both of his hungry hands. As long as she lived, it would always be a pleasure and a gift to fill his hands with the weight of her flesh.
136 Ohene had discovered that the stick between his legs could perform tricks, and while Abena’s father and mother were out begging for a share of the elders’ food, as they did every week, Ohene and showed Abena those tricks.
..."See?” he said as they watched it lift when she touched it. They had both seen their fathers’ this way. Ohene on those days his father went from on wife’s hut to the next, and Abena in the days before she got her own hut. But they had never known Ohene’s to do the same.
..."What does it feel like?” she had asked.
...He shrugged, smiled, and she knew what he felt was a good thing.
...All children had heard the fables about people who lay together before they had their marriage ceremonies: the far-fetched one about the men whose penises turned into trees while still inside the woman, growing branches into her stomach so that he could not exit her body; the simpler, truer ones about banishment, mfines, and shame.
...Finally that night, Abena had been able to convince Ohene, and he had fumbled around, thrusting at the entrance until he broke through and she hurt, thrusting inside: once, twice then nothing. There was no loud moan or whimper as they had heard escape their fathers’ mouths. He simply left the same way he had arrived.
143 Soon her lips were meeting lips. They were not the lips she remembered from their childhood, the ones that were thin and always dry because he refused to oil them. They were thicker, a trap for her own lips, her own tongue.
...Soon they were lying down in the shadow of the cave. Abena took off her wrapper and heard Ohene Nyarko suck in his breath, removing his own. At first they just stared at each other, taking their bodies in, comparing them with what they’d know before. ...He reached for her, and she flinched, remembering the last time he had touched her. How she had lain on the floor of her parent’s hut, staring up at the straw roof and wondering if there was more to it than that, the pain of it so outweighing the pleasure that she could not understand why it happened in huts across her village, the Asante, the world.
...Now Ohene Nyarko pinned her arms down to the hard red clay. She bit his arm and he growled, letting go, until she hugged him back toward her. He moved like the knew the scenes that were playing inside her head. And she let him inside her. And she let herself forget everything but him.
...When they had finished, when they were sweaty and spent and catching their breath, Abena laid her head against his chest, that panting pillow, his heart drumming into her ear.
192 That night, Crippled Man turned Crazy Woman onto her back and entered her, forcefully at first, and then more timidly. She opened her eyes to see him working more slowly than he used to, using his arms to push off, push in, his sweat dripping slowly off the bridge of his nose to land on her forehead and trickle down to meet the floor.
210 Robert was cautious, but she was wild. It had always been that way. The first night he had lain with her, he’d been so nervous that his penis had rested against his left leg, a log on the river of his quivering thigh.
..."Your daddy’s gon’ kill me,” he said. They were sixteen, their parents at a union meeting.
..."I’m not thinkin’ ‘bout my daddy right now, Robert,” she’d said, trying to stand the log. She’s put each of his fingers into her mouth one by one and had bitten the tips, watching him all the while. She’d eased him into her and moved on top of him until he was begging her to stop, to not stop, to quicken, to slow. When he closed his eyes, she’d bidden him to open them, to look at her. She liked to be the star of the show.
214 The gray suit eased the mop away. “You still have cleaning to do,” he said. He caressed her face. His hands started to move down her body, but before it could reach her breast she spit in his face.
..."Well, why don’t you come over here and give her a kiss?” the gray suit asked. He had already unzipped his pants with his left hand. With his right hand, he stroked his penis. “don’t worry, I won’t touch her,” he said.
...And he kept his word. Robert did all the work that night while the blue suit guarded the door. It wasn’t more than a few tear-stained kisses and carefully placed hands. Before the gray suit could ask for Robert to enter her, he came, a shuddering, breathy thing. Then, immediately after, he grew bored with his game.
259 Sonny went up to Amani. He stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her belly, felt the firmness of its weight. “Why don’t you give me something, baby?” he whispered into her ear. ...She started to wriggle, but he held firm and she softened, leaned into him. Sonny had never loved her, not really. But he had always wanted her. It took him a while to learn the difference between those two things. ..."“
” I just did my hair, sonny,” she said, but she was already offering him her neck, bending it to the left so that he could run his tongue along the right side. “Sing me a li’l something, Amani,” he said, reaching for her breast. She hummed at his touch, but didn’t sing.
...Sonny let his hand wander down from her breasts, down to meet the tufts of hair that awaited him. Then she started. “I love you, Porgy. Don’t let him take me. Don’t let him handle me and drive me mad.” She sang so softly it was almost a whisper. Almost. By the time his fingers found her wet, she was back at the chorus.