Aminatta Forna, whose moving and gorgeously written memoir garnered international attention, has seamlessly turned her hand to fiction in Ancestor Stones, a powerful, sensuous novel that beautifully captures Africa's past century and her present, and the legacy that her daughters take with them wherever they live. Abie returns home from England to West Africa to visit her family after years of civil war, and to reclaim the family plantation, Kholifa Estates, formerly owned by her grandfather. There to meet her are her aunts: Asana, Mariama, Hawa, and Serah, and so begins her gathering of the family and the country's history through the tales of her aunts. Asana, lost twin and head wife's daughter. Hawa, motherless child and manipulator of her own misfortune. Mariama, who sees what lies beyond. And Serah, follower of a Western-made dream. Set against the backdrop of a nation's descent into chaos, it is the take a family and four women's attempts to alter the course of their own destiny. A wonderful achievement recalling The God of Small Things and The Joy Luck Club, it establishes Aminatta Forna as a gifted novelist.
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A Masterpiece, soon to be a Classic.
I love the characters in all their various stages of life. I love them so much that I am completing a second "reading" now, something I never do. I also love the way Adjoa Andoh brings out the poetry of Aminatta Forna's writing. I have already recommended this book for my Book Group. I want to lead a discussion about how the women in this book adjust to all the vicissitudes of their lives with grace, resilience, humor, and choosing their own paths. This is a book with universal themes. Ancestor Stones is perfect for an audible book because Aminatta Forna calls upon nearly all your "mental senses" in her descriptions: sight, sound, taste, feel, and smell.
The title is excellent. The Ancestor Stones are actually representations of generations of women who come before, but the stones seem to offer a metaphor for the unique qualities of the women in the story. All these women grow up in the same compound with the same father, but each one had a very different experience. Each of their mothers came from a different family or village and shaped them to see the world differently. "Mothers" is one of the significant universal themes here.
Yes. I have listened to many of Adjoa Andoh's performances of adult books. I have loved every one of her performances including this one. Her versatility with accents and voices (both male and female) is remarkable. In the Audible database, look under the spelling of her last name as Andoh.
I would not change anything about this book. It is even better the second time because you can concentrate on the amazingly beautiful structure and recurring motifs in many of the individual stories. It is a book to be savored. I look forward to future books by author Aminatta Forna.