BookBrowse Reviews Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna

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Ancestor Stones

A Novel

by Aminatta Forna

Ancestor Stones
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2007, 336 pages

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A timeless portrait of the lives of a family of independent, spirited African women over the last century of dramatic cultural change. 1st Novel

Forna's first novel is told through the alternating stories of four strong women that, in combination, powerfully capture the social and political history of the small West African country of Sierra Leone through at least 60 troubled years.

The story opens in 2003 with Abie, a young woman born and raised in Sierra Leone but now settled in London with her European husband and their children, opening a letter from her aunts informing her that they are giving her the family coffee plantation, and requesting that she return for a visit. It is not just the plantation they want to give her. On her return, the aunts share with Abie their own stories as if they were lifting "the past from their own shoulders" and handing it to her, so that she might continue to pass the stories through the generations.

My only criticism of this gorgeous, powerful book is that I found ...

About the author
Ancestor Stones is Aminatta Forna's first work of fiction. Formerly a TV reporter and journalist she is also the author of Mother of All Myths (1998) and the memoir The Devil That Danced on the Water (2002) which told of her childhood growing up in Sierra Leone during the country's transition from democracy to dictatorship. In 1974, when she was ten years old, Siaka Stevens, President of Sierra Leone, sent militiamen to her family's house to arrest her father - a former doctor who had gone into politics as a member of Stevens' government, but resigned, having accused Stevens of corruption and cheating the World Bank, and formed an opposition party. Three years later he was arrested, convicted and hung, and his wife and children fled, eventually escaping to England.

One of the questions that troubled Forna was why it took 3 years from the ...

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