I owe the discovery of this book to my brother, who, like the rest of my family, invariably offers me books on my birthdays and Christmas, while complaining that it is too hard to find ones I haven’t read yet, but they don’t give up, because they know it’s the best present I might hope for. So he gave me this book, out of shared passion for African litterature (though we would probably both agree there is no such thing as a generic African novel), and it is a master piece.
It works backward from the death of Kweku, a respected ghanean surgeon who emigrated to the US with his Nigerian wife Fola, and their three children, and came back to Ghana after resigning, giving up on the American dream. From this second and definitive loss of their father and husband, the rest of the family has to face grief, memories of their shared life, family secrets and questions of identity as they come back to Ghana. The characters are splendidly written, each of them unique, standing like figures of classical Greek tragedies in the torment of their lives. The style is both lyric and sharp, alternatively, and, what can I say, it must be read, period.
1st sentence: “Kweku dies barefoot on a Sunday before sunrise, his slippers by the doorway to the bedroom like dogs.”
“They were doers and thinkers and lovers and seekers and givers, but dreamers, most dangerously of all.They were dreamer-women.
Very dangerous women. Who looked at the world through their wide dreamer-eyes and saw it not as it was, “brutal, senseless,” etc., but worse, as it might be or might yet become. So, insatiable women. Un-pleasable women.”