You, by now, have seen the pictures online; a woman takes a selfie of herself lying beside a sleeping, naked man who is blissfully unaware of the camera work taking place.
Well, while this is the kind of stuff that tends to go viral, on social media, there is always a back story. Something must have triggered the woman to post such a photo, assuming that she is the one who did it in the first place.
Ordinarily, we do not get the real story behind such photos; we are only left to speculate.
Enter Sarah Haluwa, with her book, Sinners, a collection of short stories, and she gives us a sneak peek into how such things might come about.
Cate takes a photo of herself with a naked man sleeping next to her, to Vicky, with the caption ‘he is such an easy lay’…
This is the ending of a story in Haluwa’s book. Now, the man sleeping beside Cate, in the picture, is Steve. Steve is supposed to propose to Vicky the following day.
Why would Cate do such a thing, least of all to her best friend? She not only cheats with Steve but goes ahead to rub it on Vicky.
How vindictive and callous can she get? As mentioned earlier, this is where the back story comes in. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Well, Cate is scorned or at least she thinks she is scorned and her revenge comes in the heat of the moment; in this case after the heat of the moment.
What starts off as an innocent enough fling (is cheating innocent?) between Steve and Cate, turns ugly when harsh words are exchanged and Steve misspeaks; revealing a conversation he had with his fiancée, where Vicky said that Cate is an easy lay.
Stung, Cate plots instant revenge, seducing Steve into another round of sex and he falls for it. It is after they are through and Steve drifts off to sleep that Cate surreptitiously takes the photo, with the offending caption and sends it to Vicky.
The reader is only left wondering what happens after Vicky receives the photo. Would the planned proposal survive? How would Steve wriggle himself out of the sticky situation? How would Vicky handle the betrayal, not only by Steve but her best friend?
But she badmouthed Cate to Steve, you might say. Can there even be a moral equivalence in this matter, no matter which side you look at it?
Welcome to the interesting but complicated world of Sinners, as presented to us by Haluwa. To a casual reader, Sinners is a sexually explicit book; what with the colourful and imaginative description of the sex scenes.
However, when one puts aside the lively sex scenes aside – they will leave you blushing, among other things – Haluwa’s book is a mirror of what happens in day-to-day life. These are human interactions that are only discussed in breathy gossipy tones, only the author has managed to package them in book form.
When you read this book, know that you are reading about yourself, your friend, or your relative, heck, the author captures your fantasies and brings them to life in these easy-to-read and highly relatable ten stories.
Take the example of Chantelle, a girl who spares no effort – and this is putting it mildly – to seduce a governor so that she can get to enjoy the high living that can only be funded by the so-called sponsor. Will she succeed in her mission or will she end up being dumped after getting used?
You only need to read the book to find out.
All the stories in the book are told from the point of view of women; how they perceive the world, romantic relationships, and sex. We are often told that sex is in the mind, well Sinners gives the reader, particularly men, a ringside seat to where it all happens; the mind of a woman in relation to the workings of women, where matters of romance and sex are concerned.
Men can also take this as a ‘how to’ guide on what women want in sex, what arouses them, and what satisfies them. You also get to know the manipulative and accomplished actors they are. If these things matter to you, then book It is that useful.
My best story, by far has to be the one between Habiba and her clueless but generous sponyo, Frank. The sensitivity she employs to stroke the old man’s fragile ego is one I can read again and again. The deception and the telling of it is quite hilarious.
Reading through this book, Haluwa’s clever use of language comes to the fore; the vivid descriptions and the subtle use of humour. The suspense at the end of each story makes the reading such a delightful experience.
And yes, remember to put the book out of the reach of children; it has very naughty content. Oh, and before you get your moral knickers in a twist – excuse the pun – regarding this book, it is good to remember that it is never that serious, plus we are all sinners.
The printer, however, almost ruined my experience with Sinners with a sloppy binding job. My copy almost came apart on page 26/27; any slight pressure on the spine and it collapses.
Author: Sarah Haluwa
Reviewer: Mbugua Ngunjiri