Lawrence Hill has nailed it...this is a masterpiece and a must read for anyone interested in un-sanitized reality of the negro slave.
Meena's life starts in her peaceful African village. She is kidnapped. Shackled she is forced to walk to the ship waiting to bring her to America. The voyage is horrific and she describes in great detail the events that happened aboard the ship.
The story tells of two different masters each different as night and day. This story weaves together her coming of age, her jumping the broom and the birth of her first child...a son. She has it better because she catches babies...a midwife and she has learned to read and write. Her ability to pick up languages is a real plus as she travels three continents.
From South Carolina, to New York, to Nova Scotia and finally back to Africa, we feel her agony when her master sold her child. Her struggles to make indigo dye and the cruel treatment by her master make the story come alive.
A new master and the truth he sold her baby makes her strike out on her own. Living in a shanty town, she again gets pregnant when her husband visits her.
She hears of a plan to send any person who helped the British during the war to Nova Scotia. They will receive land. She records everyone's name.
Her husband goes ahead of her and she is sent to a different port. She has her daughter and gets a job as a housekeeper. The couple she works for steals her child and flees.
They are told of a program to take them back to Africa to start a British Colony. Things are not anything like they were lead to believe but they take things as they come.
She wants to visit the village she left so long ago. To do that she must deal with the very people who kidnaped her.
After going back to Africa, she goes to England to help the abolitionist's cause. They ask her to tell her story. As her life winds down she reflects that her husband is dead as is her son. She has no family, children or grandchildren to comfort her in her old age.
The ending is superb and it will a smile to your face.
The story is told so fluidly that the reader is drawn into the story as it unfolds. I especially liked the way the author dealt with the migration issues. I had known that there was a movement to send negroes back to Africa to right the wrongs done to them. I didn't know about Nova Scotia.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the plight of the negro. It is a great book for a book club.
I would listen to parts of it again because the story was very moving.
I like that the author intertwined real facts with a fictitious story to highlight the injustice of slavery. Surprisingly, the author did a very good job of showing all sides of the story - slaves, slave owners, people who think they are being sympathetic to those in bondage, abolitionists, etc. I enjoyed being able to Google some of the places and events that happened and seeing that, while the characters are not real, many of the facts are historical.
I wish she had more emotion during the dramatic parts of the novel. Too much of the time, her voice was simply monotone.
The description of Aminata's voyage from Africa was heart-wrenching. I thought it odd though, that once Mina is taken off the ship the author did not have her display much emotion over the events that took place. There was so much that happened to her in such a short time that one would think she would still anguish over it.
The last 15-20 mins of the story was a bit hokey, but I forgive Lawrence Hill, the author, because the rest of the book was so enjoyable.
Although I enjoy reading books on this topic, I just couldn't get pass the first few chapters. It was just too slow.
Considering the story line, I wouldn't have changed anything.
Frustration, I really wanted to enjoy this book.
This book should be listed as a classic, along the lines of The Grapes of Wrath, etc. Really riveting and well done. Highly recommend it.
A great story that tells of tragedy, betrayal, love, bravery and a heroine who never gives up...no matter how dismal the circumstances.
I really like learning some part of slavery history that I had no idea about! Very sad for most of the book, but of course, it's slavery!!! Nothing good about that institution!
I loved listening to this book. The reader was spectacular... The story was so beautifully written. It was one of my most favorite historical novels ever!
Aminata Diallo is an amazing character. The author wrote in such a way that you can truly feel her pain.
This is a must read. It is a long book, but every minute is essential to really appreciating the whole story. Six decades are chronicled in 18 hours or reading. Every American citizen should read this story.
This is an ambitious story, which pretty much succeeds. The crossing of continents, and life stories are all interesting. The story is a little far-fetched, but setting that aside is easy given the fine writing. I just felt the story grow a little absurd at the end, and grew bored. But the book doesn't stand on it's end.