Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Book review: The Devil That Danced on the Water

This book was also a birthday present, this time from Joe's Mum. I had not heard of the book or the author before but knew that Joe's Mum was good at choosing books so it would be good.

It is a daughter's memoir about her father Mohammed Forna. Her father came to Scotland to study medicine where he married a Scottish lady and where Aminatta was born. The family then move back to Sierra Leone where he worked for a doctor before he moved in to politics. I will not tell you any more as I do not want to ruin it for you.
During the first part of the book she describes her childhood. She describes Sierra Leone in a way I would love to be able to describe Cameroon to you. She talks about so many things we have experienced or can relate to. Here are a few examples.

I upended the beaker, pulled my foot away and trapped the cockroach under the glass. It sat unperturbed as at home as a fish in an aquarium. By the end of the day there were half a dozen inverted objects on the floor around the house.

This second quote is when she was in Scotland talking to her Scottish Grandmother.

At the kitchen counter Gran prepared the chicken for high tea, cutting off the flaps of skin with a pair of kitchen scissors. I told her she shouldn't buy dead chickens. 'Whatever makes you say that dearie?' She looked down at me in surprise. 'You don't thing I'm going to kill it myself do you?'

The last part of the book is her personal search to find the truth of what happened to her Father.

If you have an interest in Africa or have ever visited Africa you will enjoy this book as much as I have. It has been compared with Wild Swans (Jung Chang)
and I think is also like A Long Walk to Freedom (Nelson Mandela). Aminatta has also written two other books. Ancestors stones is a novel also set in Sierra Leone. She is currently working on another novel . Mother of all myths a book on modern motherhood.

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