The Three of Us (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
A Belletrist Book Club Pick
"As short and sharp as a pairing knife . . . Moves along so briskly and with such sly wit . . . Deliciously wicked." —Ron Charles, The Washington Post
Long-standing tensions between a husband, his wife, and her best friend finally come to a breaking point in this sharp domestic comedy of manners, told brilliantly over the course of one day.
What if your two favorite people hated each other with a passion?
The wife has it all. A big house in a nice neighborhood, a ride-or-die snarky best friend, Temi, with whom to laugh about facile men, and a devoted husband who loves her above all else—even his distaste for Temi.
On a seemingly normal day, Temi comes over to spend a lazy afternoon with the wife: drinking wine, eating snacks, and laughing caustically about the husband's shortcomings. But when the husband comes home and a series of confessions are made, the wife's two confidantes are suddenly forced to jockey for their positions, throwing everyone's integrity into question—and their long-drawn-out territorial dance, carefully constructed over years, into utter chaos.
Told in three taut, mesmerizing parts—the wife, the husband, the best friend—over the course of one day, The Three of Us is a subversively comical, wildly astute, and painfully compulsive triptych of domestic life that explores cultural truths, what it means to defy them, and the fine line between compromise and betrayal when it comes to ourselves and the people we're meant to love.
About the Author
Ore Agbaje-Williams is a British Nigerian writer and book editor from London. The Three of Us is her first novel.
One of Real Simple’s Best Books of the Year
One of Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023
One of NYLON’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023
One of ELLE’s Best New Books for Summer
One of TIME's Best Books of May 2023
One of PopSugar’s Best New Books of 2023
One of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Best New Books of May
One of New York Post’s Best New Books
One of AFAR’s Best Books for Summer
"A dark, funny tale that tackles an uncomfortably familiar question: what happens if your partner and your best friend cannot stand each other?" —The Guardian
"Two's company, three's a crowd—and what a crowd they are, in this smart, sly novel by Ore Agbaje-Williams." —CBS Sunday Morning
"A beach read that promises tea and tension. . . . Ore Agbaje-Williams gifts us a comedic domestic drama about the bitter tension between a husband, his wife, and her best friend. . . . A thrilling spectacle ensues throughout the course of a single day." –The Good Men Project
"Layered and brimming with subtext and sharp observations about money, gender, patriarchy and complicity, this story subverts the love triangle trope by introducing something more akin to a hate triangle. . . . A wicked ride." —Electric Lit
"Switching points of view among the three, this debut is viciously funny, different than anything you’ve read lately, and at the same time, strangely relatable." —Oprah Daily
"As short and sharp as a pairing knife . . . Agbaje-Williams writes in a fluid, conversational style that dissolves paper and ink into sound waves. . . . The novel is so theatrical in its structure and immediacy that the moment you finish reading it, you’ll imagine you actually heard it. . . . This comédie à trois moves along so briskly and with such sly wit that it’s easy to overlook how the novel teases issues of class and race. . . . Deliciously wicked." —Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"The Three of Us toes the tightrope between concession and deception as Agbaje-Williams executes surprise twists in a narrative that’s drenched in wine.” —TIME
"In this sharp, taut, dark comedy that takes place over the course of one fateful day, the simmering tensions between a husband, a wife, and her best friend come to a boiling point. It’s a tense read that will have you glued to your beach chair!” —Jenny Jackson, author of Pineapple Street, for GMA.com
"Cleverly told in three parts, from each character’s point of view, The Three of Us will give its readers lots to talk about over brunch." —Real Simple
"[A] knockout debut novel about the hazards and self-destructive nature of spousal compromise. . . Fine details [suffuse] love and life into a hilarious, clever and incisive narrative of admirable and ugly truths . . . . [A] simmering tempest of clashing expectations, values and desires." —Shelf Awareness
"A biting comedy of manners with a delightfully simple, but incredibly fertile, premise . . . . Over three acts, as the thin walls of tact and civility begin to erode, all manner of scabrously hilarious confessions and accusations burst through.” —Lit Hub
"Taking place over the course of a single day, this bold, sharp debut novel explores the intrigue of the ménage à trois in a comedy of manners about the tensions between a husband, his wife, and her best friend.” –NYLON
"This fast-paced and comedic novel is a thought-provoking exploration of cultural truths, defiance, and the complexity of love and betrayal.” —SheReads
"Well crafted…A tightly constructed debut novel." —NPR.org
"In this slim, clever novel, everything goes down over the course of boozy afternoon." —GMA.com
"In Ore Agbaje-Williams' bitterly funny novel, a friend disrupts a volatile marriage. . . . Incisive." —Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[A] splashy debut…This humorous, subversive novel explores cultural truths exemplified in the minutiae of domestic life—the daily happenings that, when put together, can have massive consequences regarding betrayal, loyalty and love." —W Magazine
"[An] introspective journey of one of the most complex love triangles one may ever have: between a wife and her husband and best friend. . . . Suffice it to say, it's one wild, funny ride." —Scary Mommy
"Agbaje-Williams’ dark wit and wry observations keep it all interesting. She slowly and slyly builds the tension between her three characters until it fairly sparks off the page….At fewer than 200 pages, The Three of Us makes for a quick and thought-provoking read that can elicit a cringe one minute and rueful laughter the next. The tightly wound plot drops a few revelations along the way, calling into question what the characters—and the reader—think they know. When two people vie for the attention of a third, who will win? How far will each go? Agbaje-Williams keeps readers wondering until the end." —BookPage (starred review)
"[A] striking, often wickedly funny debut . . . Agbaje-Williams brilliantly captures the inner monologue as well as the conversational style of each of the three through which their whole cultural milieu takes shape around them . . . . An original and potent comedy of manners with an ingenious final twist." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Wonderfully witty. . . The precarious détente between a wife, her husband, and her best friend blows up over the course of one fateful, wine-fueled day. . . . This wry comedy of manners unfolds in a trio of engagingly self-absorbed, revealingly unreliable first person narratives. Agbaje-Williams sharply renders each character’s unique voice, building depth and tension as the story is told and retold." —Booklist
"In rich, raw, often hilarious detail. . . Agbaje-Williams brilliantly captures the toxic dynamics of an emotional train wreck that inevitably comes from the imbalance of a fragile marriage threatened by the presence of a conniving third party." —Library Journal
"[An] intoxicating debut...It’s delicious to watch the characters’ long-fermenting tensions come to the fore. It lands as a discerning debut from an author who knows a thing or two (or three) about the ever-shifting dynamics of intimacy." –Publishers Weekly
“Devouring this bold, brilliant satire was refreshing and confronting and completely entertaining. So much is achieved in Agbaje-Williams’ writing: the nuances that make even our closest relationships uncomfortable, the tension of a shifting perspective, the anarchy provoked by a single cunning comment. Beguiling and cutting and admirable—I loved it.” —Ashley Audrain, author of The Push
"A taut study of three people, exploring with the lightest of touches how being the child of immigrants affects one’s thinking about gender roles, personal and professional ambition, human intimacy, and much more. The Three of Us is a cunning (and often very funny) book, a wily and promising debut.” —Rumaan Alam, author of Leave The World Behind
“The Three of Us is explosive. . . . What rocked me was the naked examination of that coveted construct we call innocence. . . . How easily it's weaponized and made indistinguishable from guilt; and how the people who are honest about this are the only ones with a real chance at wellness and wholeness. The Three of Us read, wrote, and erased me. Then, it gave me back to myself, giggling and nodding my head. What a keen mind this story comes from. What a calm power this story holds.” —Robert Jones, Jr., author of The Prophets
"An astute, composed, and quietly hilarious observation of identity, marriage, and friendship from a unique storyteller." —Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People
"Both wickedly entertaining and thought-provoking. I couldn't stop turning the page!" —Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, author of Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?
"Three soliloquists audition to be the main character, each with certain claims, certain gripes. As Agbaje-Williams’s trio depart from their hinges, her own grip on events holds tight. With deft plotting, mature control of voice and a wicked enjoyment of perspective, The Three of Us is well-marshalled and full of fun." —Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times
"A sharp, humorous, superbly entertaining novel exploring Black love and relationships and the conflicts and tensions that arise from jealousy, desire, control, and cultural expectations. Agbaje-Williams' cultural references and evocation of the contemporary world within which Black couples build relationships is insightful and impressive." —Jacqueline Crooks, author of Fire Rush
"Sharp, astute and wickedly funny—Ore Agbaje-Williams’ sharp wit and perfectly realized protagonists make for a taut, darkly comic read that packs a serious punch." —Yomi Adegoke, author of Slay in Your Lane and The List
"Unique and completely captivating, The Three of Us absorbed me. When I finished I wanted to go back and read it from the beginning again.” —Annie Lord, author of Notes on Heartbreak
"Funny, fresh, and full of drama. Not a word goes to waste in this extraordinary debut." —Sophie Irwin, author of A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting
"A treat of a debut. Agbaje-Williams has a gift of gliding between the sharpest driest humor and damning emotional revelations to incisively expose the vulnerabilities, fallacies, and messiness that line the relationships with those we are closest to. Dazzling, dextrous, and droll, this millennial noir is a taut exploration of culture and the politics of relationships." —Bolu Babalola, author of Love in Colour
“I’m obsessed. This is a masterful, at times familiar and relatable, yet ultimately disturbing portrayal of a friendship. Constantly surprising, often dark, and at times sinister, it is without fail always entertaining and funny.” —Claire Kohda, author of Woman, Eating