Abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle - a string of slaves - Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic Book of Negroes. This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the United States for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an oppression all its own.
Aminata's eventual return to Sierra Leone - passing ships carrying thousands of slaves bound for America - is an engrossing account of an obscure but important chapter in history that saw 1,200 former slaves embark on a harrowing back-to-Africa odyssey.
Lawrence Hill is a master at transforming the neglected corners of history into brilliant imaginings, as engaging and revealing as only the best historical fiction can be. A sweeping story that transports the listener from a tribal African village to a plantation in the Southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London, The Book of Negroes introduces one of the strongest female characters in recent Canadian fiction, one who cuts a swath through a world hostile to her colour and her sex.
©2007 Lawrence Hill Creative Services, Inc. (P)2016 Jody Colero for Silent Joe Inc
Beautifully told, beautifully read, it is not a happy story, but a strong wonderful one.
Incredible story, and Ms. Roberts-Abdullah reads with a wonderful understanding of emotion and restraint. Can't recommend it enough.
@banana29 Teacher-librarian, striving for perfection but my artist keeps getting in the way.
Loved it! this is part of mandatory reading canon for all Canadians. More complete than Alex Haley's Roots anyone interested in the Western World's sordid economic legacy should read this to better understand the sacrifices of African people.
yes i would because i feel like we take things for granted, and this book opens our eyes. broadens our prespectives. our problems can be over comed and this book makes it sound like a breeze.
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