This book has been compared to Wild Swans for the childhood memories and to The House of the Spirits for the dissident political stuff Quite apart from my personal interest in the subject I was a Peace Corps teacher in Freetown a few years before the events in this book , I found it a sensitive memoir in which the writer is superb at rendering childhood memories of her parents two cultures as well as an amazing personal journey during which she uses her investigative journalistism skills to uncover the truth she had never really knew before about her father.
Aminatta Forna was born in Scotland in 1964 Scottish mother and father, a medical student from Sierra Leone She was the youngest of 3 children born to the couple before they went back to Sierra Leone where Mohamed Forna wanted to use his skills to help his fledgling country In t This is a pretty good book about recent Sierra Leonean history The author s father played an important role in S L government at the time of its transfer from British colonialism to self rule, and according to Forna, everything he did was correct and upstanding, whereas all the others were corrupt, self serving and basically, evil I do not know enough detail about political historians views of the 70s, 80s and 90s to know if this is correct or not I do know that multiple attrocities were committed by several different self declared leaders and opposition members What is certain is that life was unbelievably difficult for almost all people in Sierra Leone.
Where this story is good is the parallel telling of the lives of both the author growing up in SL and the UK, and of her father Since the author is of a similar age as myself, I e Oh my God this is literally like the most boring book I have ever read please can I give it 0 stars Honestly I think it was the narration I wasn t fond of here I go back and forth between reading an actual book and listening in the car or before bedtime This being a true story I believe it s remarkable that the author lived through this place in time and came out on the other side to tell the tale I d made the decision to give up on a book if there is nothing keeping me interested within the first half Ever since making this decision I ve found at least 3 books one in particular ended up being one of my top favs of all time that seemed to grab my attention RIGHT in the very mid point of the story SoI decided not to erase my initial reaction to the book I didn t actually know anything about this book when I picked it up, but I recognised Aminatta Forna s name from another book I ve been meaning to read In hindsight, I feel I should ve recognised her name far sooner through a different story All I know is that this book tells the story of her memoir of what and why, exactly, I had no clue I prefer not to read the synopsis of a book upon buying it and, most of the time, I pick up the right ones Upon reading the preface acknowledgement, I realised that the story is about her father, although still unclear in what respect.
The book starts out quite vaguely and goes on like that for two chapters at the end of which, I was sure it would be a tearjerker but starts again from the top in the third chapter It starts with her father s past, her family s background being told almost in a mythical way and her old ☆ The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir ☆ A devastating but beautifully written memoir of a childhood in Sierra Leone and Britain, and the rise and fall of her father Mohamed Forna, a finance minister in the Sierra Leone government.
I picked up this book with absolutely no knowledge of its contents Having read one of Forna s works of fiction previously, I was expecting a novel In my blissful ignorance, I think I encountered one of the best written works I have read with elements of the auto biographical and investigative journalism genres at their best This is her real life story, of her British educated Sierra Leonean father and his incredible passion for a country with so much potential, yet destroyed by greed corruption and hatred Her years as a child in Africa are immersed in bliss and magical events seen through the eyes of a child slowly turning into the toughest pages of Sierra Leone s history Interwoven in her experiences are memories of England, Scotland, Lagos and at the forefront stands Sierra Leone with its beautiful beaches and forests and warfare at the time of her writing now over Aminatta Forna s father was a doctor, then activist and politician in Sierra Leone, rising to be Minister of Finance for a while before resigning in public protest at corruption in the government But she was born in Scotland to a Scottish mother while her father was studying medicine there.
Unfortunately politics in Sierra Leone was a dangerous business We learn at the very start of the book that, when she was ten, her father was arrested and she never saw him again, but exactly what happened to him emerges over the course of the book, so even though it is in fact a matter of historical record, I suppose the polite thing to do is to issue a MILD SPOILER ALERT before I go on to talk about it.
So, as I was saying, her father along with fourteen other men was arrested and charged on trumped up charges of treason, inevitably found guilty, and hanged The Ms Forna memoir of her childhood in Sierra Leone is beyond harrowing She wrote an important book about Africa and gratitude is in order I learned than I wanted about betrayal and political jockeying that I could bear That she was able to gather her elegance, wits and grace about her in this tragic ugly tale is quite remarkable.
5 The Devil That Danced On The Water A Daughter s Quest, is about Aminatta Forna s father Dr Mohammed Forna, a politician in Sierra Leone during the civil war This is a hard book to review mainly because it is one part memoir and another part biography The writer is very close to the issue presented and it is clear that she really did her due diligence I knew very little about Sierra Leone s prickly history, so I appreciated that historical content I got a great look into the country and its culture I liked both the beginning of the novel and the end, I felt the middle was a bit jumbled and not presented properly At the end, I did have a lot of unanswered questions, the top being WHERE IS YOUR MOTHER From reading this book, its clear that it was a hard book to write because there are so many things at play the history of a country, the telling of a father s story from your m As A Shining Example Of What Autobiography Can Be Harrowing, Illuminating And Thoughtful USA Today , Aminatta Forna S Intensely Personal History Is A Passionate And Vivid Account Of An Idyllic Childhood Which Became The Stuff Of Nightmare As A Child She Witnessed The Upheavals Of Post Colonial Africa, Danger, Flight, The Bitterness Or Exile In Britain And The Terrible Consequences Of Her Dissident Father S Stand Against TyrannyMohamed Forna Was A Man Of Unimpeachable Integrity And Trailer é The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir PDF by ☆ Aminatta Forna Enchanting Charisma As Sierra Leone Faced Its Future As A Fledgling Democracy, He Was A New Star In The Political Firmament, A Man Who Had Been One Of The First Black Students To Come To Britain After The War He Stole The Heart Of Aminatta S Mother To The Dismay Of Her Presbyterian Parents And Returned With Her To Sierra Leone But As Aminatta Forna Shows With Compelling Clarity, The Old Africa Was Torn Apart By New Ways Of Western Parliamentary Democracy, Which Gave Birth Only To Dictatorships And Corruption Of Hitherto Undreamed Of Magnitude It Was Not Long Before Mohamed Forna Languished In Jail As A Prisoner Of Conscience, And Worse To FollowAminatta S Search For The Truth That Shaped Both Her Childhood And The Nation S Destiny Began Among The Country S Elite And Took Her Into The Heart Of Rebel Territory Determined To Break The Silence Surrounding Her Father S Fate, She Ultimately Uncovered A Conspiracy That Penetrated The Highest Reaches Of Government And Forced The Nation S Politicians And Judiciary To Confront Their Guilt The Devil That Danced On The Water Is A Book Of Pain And Anger And Sorrow, Written With Tremendous Dignity And Beautiful Precision A Remarkable, And Important, Story Of Africa