There is something distinct and refreshing about the short, simple, sometimes lyrical sentences in this book. And wow what a story. The angle the story took of a post-colonial African country was also interesting. The remorse and reflection was illuminating, something that nonfiction from similar settings and era really fail to do.
The story takes place in the former Belgian Congo, also formerly the republic of Congo, then Zaire, and now The DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The political setting is the reign of the authoritarian, Mobutu, and the events leading up to getting the country from colony to democratic country, while also painting the picture of post-colonial education--or the lack thereof--and how that played an important role in rectifying political turmoil.
The angle of the missionary family was a good addition to a familiar story. The missionary dad in this family resembles the dad in Purple Hibiscus and The Smell of Apples : oppressive, controlling, devoid of re
ason. The family of six (dad, mom, and four girls) leave their home in America and settle in rural Africa, within a small village that hasn't yet caught up with the modern world, and this dad is somehow tricked into believing that he is the superior power sent to rule the inferior Africans. You can only imagine where the story goes from there. I must say, I saw bits and pieces of Things Fall Apart in this work.
There is some melancholy and beauty, though the book feels as if it could have been a hundred pages shorter. There were five narrators, all who were supposed to have different styles and voices, yet at times they blended together into the voice of an overall arching narrator. At times, Adah, one of my favorite narrators, started to sound like an older woman and not the young girl she was supposed to be. The history of the Congo was muddled in certain places and with five narrators, it was just hard to keep excited. I ended up growing to like Leah and Anatole's characters better because of the purpose their juxtaposed relationship seemed to fill within the bigger narrative.
Candaced620 3 years agoOne of my favorite novels of all time. Well worth reading twice. Beautifully written, resonant, personal and global. This story and its characters will remain with you.
Guest 5 years agoThis is an amazing story. I loved it!