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The Book Of Echoes
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The Book Of Echoes (Hardback)

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Narrated by the spirit of an enslaved African, this is a searing debut about hope, redemption and the scars of history.

Over two hundred years ago in Africa, a woman tosses her young son to safety as she is hauled off by slavers. After a brutal sea passage, her second child is snatched away. Although the woman doesn't know it yet, her spirit is destined to roam the earth in search of her lost children.

It will make its way to 1980s Brixton, where she watches teenage Michael attempt to stay out of trouble as riots spit and boil onthe streets; and to a poor village in Nigeria, where Ngozi struggles to better her life.

As the invisible threads that draw these two together are pulled ever tighter, The Book of Echoes asks: how can we overcome the traumas of the past when they are woven so inextricably with the present? Humming with horror and beauty, Rosanna Amaka's remarkable debut marks her as a vibrant new voice in fiction.

'A searing, rhapsodic novel. The Book of Echoes is filled with beauty, devastation and the power of ancestral connections that ripple through the ages' IRENOSEN OKOJIE

'So bewitching I almost felt like I time-travelled back into Brixton 1981. A gorgeous book - totally recommended.' ALEX WHEATLE 


Fiction & PoetryHistorical FictionFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd Publication Date: 20/02/2020 ISBN-13: 9780857526717  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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ROSANNA AMAKA was born to African and Caribbean parents. She began writing THE BOOK OF ECHOES twenty years ago to give voice to the Brixton community in which she grew up. Her community was fast disappearing - as a result of gentrification, emigration back to the Caribbean and Africa, or simply with the passing away of the older generation. Its depiction of unimaginable pain redeemed by love and hope was also inspired by a wish to understand the impact of history on present-day lives. Rosanna Amaka lives in South London. This is her first novel.

More books by Rosanna Amaka

Customer Reviews

The opening of “The Book of Echoes” at West India Docks, London in 1803 was a very powerful and emotional start to this poignant and at times harrowing story. Narrated by the spirit of a kidnapped African slave, she roams the streets, houses and lives of people, together with her lover ‘Wind’, endlessly searching for their lost child. The story then jumps nearly two hundred years and we see into the lives of Michael, who is struggling to stay out of trouble after the brutal murder of his step mother and Ngozi, a servant girl struggling to escape her low-caste status in a poor sun-baked village in Nigeria. Throughout the story we are privy to how Michael and Ngozi’s lives change rapidly through the years and at times it was heartbreaking to read. I enjoyed reading (though it was exceedingly sad) the intermittent chapters of the ghostly narrator and her backstory with the distressing slave ships and how she was so brutally kidnapped. There were many memorable moments to the story, slavery, the Brixton riots, the plight of blacks in South London as they tried to make a life for themselves and poor Ngozi as she faces the abuse and trauma of man after man she encounters, through to the disappearing of black communities due to recent gentrifications of areas and subsequent emigration. “The Book of Echoes” is a redemptive story of how trans-generational trauma and racism can destroy a person but how resilience, survival and all the good things in life can instinctively turn lives around. I did thoroughly enjoy this book but felt it petered out a bit towards the ending and didn’t quite impact on me the way I was expecting and hoping by the denouement. Saying that, this is still a well deserved four star book for a timely, intricately written, beautiful story that highlights the struggles of African men and women and how slowly we are eliminating the world of racism and the bigotry that accompanies it. The author Rosanna Amaka is a debut writer and has spent the last twenty years composing and writing this book, to give voice to the Brixton community she grew up in and a wish to promote the understanding of the impact history has on present day lives. It is without doubt that Rosanna will be writing more novels, I just hope we don’t have to wait another twenty years to read it! “The Book of Echoes” is highly recommended. 4 well deserved stars!

- 10/03/2020
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