Patience Is a Subtle Thief: A Novel
Hope and circumstance define a young woman’s life in this heartbreaking tale of lost innocence, set in politically volatile 1990s Nigeria, from an exciting and fresh voice in global literature.
For as long as she can remember, Patience Adewale, the eldest daughter of Chief Kolade Adewale, has been waiting for confirmation that she is loved, that there is a place where she truly belongs. Patience lives a sheltered life within the secure walls of the family’s mansion in Ibadan, but finds no comfort from her distant father and stepmother Modupe. Her only ally is her younger sister, yet even Margaret’s love and support cannot overcome Patience’s insecurity and uncertainty.
More than anything, Patience wants to know why her father and uncle banished her mother from their compound years ago—and whether her mother is even alive. Determined to discover the truth, Patience embarks on a desperate search to find her mother. Answers begin to surface when she moves to Lagos for university and unexpectedly reconnects with her cousin Kash.
Kash and his friend Emeka are petty thieves with an opportunity to make a big score. To pull it off they need help—and enlist Patience and Emeka’s straight-arrow brother, Chike, to become partners in their scheme. The thieves’ plan is to quit after this job. But unforeseen events lead to unexpected consequences—and demand a price from Patience that may be too steep to pay.
Suspenseful and evoking the subtleties of Nigerian life in an fresh and unexpected way, Patience Is a Subtle Thief is a heart-wrenching story of one young woman’s precarious journey to adulthood, and the risks and sacrifices it takes to follow her heart.
Praise for Patience Is a Subtle Thief: A Novel
"Ishola-Ayodeji is deft, shrewd, sometimes witty, and always observant about the social, economic, and political obstacles to Nigerians wishing only to live honorably and decently. A poignant, revealing, and rueful tale of how much the political can affect the personal." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Expertly telling the story of an unloved girl on a hunt for answers and her own path, Patience Is a Subtle Thief is both heartbreaking and heartfelt." — Rachel Strolle, BuzzFeed
"Abi Ishola-Ayodeji, award-winning journalist and television producer, can add accomplished author to her accolades with publication of this intense debut novel that explores the deleterious effects of secrets kept and the wrenching choices one woman makes in her search for identity and connection." — Library Journal
"A thrilling story of family ties, secrets, and sticking up for the people you love. Now, can someone just turn it into a TV show, please?" — theSkimm