Thank you to Fodé Beaudet for your encouraging review*
Ancestries: A short story collection is available on Amazon.
…I’ve read a lot of books in my life. However, rarely have I come across stories that move me in so many ways. I began reading in London, which was timely, because I felt surrounded, somehow, by the lives of the characters, given the diversity of London. I heard Toni Morrison, in her document “Pieces of Me”, say something along the lines of writing without the “White” gaze, meaning that she wrote without feeling the need to “explain”. It’s something that I felt in your writing, which is why perhaps I connected deeply: there are many scenes that are not “explained”, and their subtleties contributes to these golden nuggets….there are many, which offers the reader an intimate access to subtleties, as if you are discreetly winking at us. You also reveal a wide array of human struggles and hopes that transcends one’s life. I find this is a recurrent theme in your writing: one’s own story is never the whole story, as if life is an open book – we begin where others came, and as we depart, others continue. It’s a stark contrast with literature (most, I would add) in which the narrative arc rests on a character’s or an individual’s struggle confined within a time period, rarely more than a life.
My physical reactions from reading, involved goose bumps, itchy eyes that revealed tears about to overflow, holding my breath, and closing the book, lifting my head, needing to pause, to breath, because of the depth in which I was traveling. There is not one reference to War, except perhaps for a brief period in England. I don’t know to which extent it was intentional, but only upon reflection, I thought it was compelling to focus on the human stories of Sierra Leoneans beyond the civil war – which is the only context in which information has come to my attention.
In response to a DNA test, one of your characters says to Naomi, that we are from Africa, but also from the world. That’s one of the great gift of your stories – each character is filled with nuances within and beyond the African continent (the student who challenges the professor about anthropology is hilarious yet serious), engaging in a changing world. So we shift constantly, or rather navigate through the paradox of the specificities to each individual and the commonality among people.
I am so grateful for this gift, and looking forward to read through Identities.
*Posted with Reviewer’s Permission