Slave Castles & Synthethesia: Background information when reading Amaryllis in Blueberry

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Amaryllis in Blueberry

by Christina Meldrum

Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback:
    Feb 2011, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Megan Shaffer

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Slave Castles & Synthethesia

Print Review

Slave Castles
A pivotal scene in Amaryllis in Blueberry occurs when the Slepy family visits one of West Africa's slave castles. Though the slave castle in the story isn't mentioned by name, research will lead you to the Elmina and the Cape Coast region located on the coast of Ghana.

Castles were constructed along the coveted West African coast by European traders. The castles were originally built as trading posts and military forts due to their strategic positioning and proximity to the water. Though these trading posts were originally utilized for such items as gold, ivory, timber, and spices, by the late 1400s trade had expanded to include the buying and selling of human cargo in the form of African slaves.

St. George d'Elmina Castle is one of West Africa's oldest standing buildings and still holds the dungeons where an untold number of slaves were imprisoned. Juxtaposed against the sparkling Atlantic, the castle's dank, horrific dungeons shackled thousands of slaves until they passed through "the door of no return." Once through this door, slaves were forced to the water, loaded onto slave ships, and transported to markets in the New World, never to see their homeland again.




More than twenty-five slave castles can still be found along the coast of Ghana today. The castles are used as prisons, museums, administrative offices, and tourist destinations. While some are in total disrepair and decay, others have been declared World Heritage Sites by the United Nations.


Synthethesia
Yllis is a synesthete, a condition that gives her seer-like abilities. Synesthetes experience two or more of the five senses at the same time with one sense involuntarily causing a sensation in another. Thus a synesthete might experience taste as sound, or music as color. For example, it is believed that Lolita author Nabokov experienced letters as colors, while George Gershwin saw musical notes in color - which puts a whole different interpretation on his Rhapsody in Blue! Over 60 types of synesthesia (including emotional synthesia, as experienced by Yllis) have been reported but few have been studied in any detail.

Article by Megan Shaffer

This article is from the March 9, 2011 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Noise of Time
    by Julian Barnes
    Confession: I do two terrible – some say unforgivable – things while reading a book. First...
  • Book Jacket
    Smoke
    by Dan Vyleta
    In Dan Vyleta's universe, set in an alternate Victorian England, people engaging in sinful thought ...
  • Book Jacket: Golden Hill
    Golden Hill
    by Francis Spufford
    Spufford brings American history to raucous life through the story of Mr. Richard Smith, a ...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Necklace
    by Claire McMillan

    For readers of The Nest, the intelligent, intoxicating story of long-simmering family secrets.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.