Korede’s younger sister, Ayoola, has just killed her third boyfriend, and calls practical Korede to come and clean up. Things get tricky when the sisters both have their eye on the same man. Lots of typical sister relationship issues, and some that are not so typical, in this darkly amusing book. It’s a quick read, with a great Nigerian setting.
I don’t think I have read anything quite like this. It is deeply imaginative, lyrical and magical, but I didn’t enjoy the experience very much. Ada is born with ogbanje – Nigerian gods – inside of her; they live in her mind and sometimes take over her body, trying at once to protect and destroy her. It could be a story of mental illness, or of the multiple selves we have within us. It is very dark, with trauma, physical and mental violence, and much wrestling with sexual and gender identity. It’s an uncomfortable read, but not a journey without value.
Three and a half stars for Hold, a story about Belinda, a Ghanaian teenager who, having adjusted from village life to that of a housegirl, makes another move, to London. In London, she lives with a Ghanaian couple, and their daughter, Amma, who is struggling, and her parents hope Belinda can get her back on track. It is a quiet coming of age story, dealing with culture, duty, shame, belonging and growing into a sense of self. My favourite character was the younger Mary, left behind in Ghana; spirited and funny. The pace of this novel is slow, and it didn’t move me quite as much as I feel it could have.
Captive is all action with a cause. Set in South African national parks, and Mozambique, it follows Aussie lawyer, Kerry, as she comes to volunteer at a wildlife orphanage. No time to settle in, as violent action ensues, as the good guys fight the war on poaching, where the enemy is not always as expected. Captive is fast paced, with lots of African scenery and wildlife, an international cast of characters but a deeply Australian, even ocker, flavour. Lots of fun.
Set in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from the late sixties until the early two thousands, this book is about the effects of war, and desire and betrayal. A slow, powerful, novel, that explores one man’s obsession with another’s wife, and what acts it drive him to, years ago, and an English psychologist’s attempts to help after Sierra Leone’s civil war.
Homegoing begins as the story of two sisters from Africa’s Gold Coast. One marries a white slave trader and the other is sold into slavery. It becomes the story of each generation that follows, in America and in Africa; the impact of the past and hope for the future. We experience much of the history of each place through the stories of each generation, which is fascinating, at times heartbreaking, and ultimately beautiful.