I am joining the blog tour today for The Book of Echoes, a beautiful book by Rosanna Amaka. Many thanks to Rosanna and Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tour for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.
Sixteen-year-old Michael is already on the wrong side of the law. In in his community, where job opportunities are low and drug-running is high, this is nothing new.
But when Michael falls for Ngozi, a vibrant young immigrant from the Nigerian village of Obowi, their startling connection runs far deeper than they realise.
Narrated by the spirit of an African woman who lost her life on a slave ship two centuries earlier, her powerful story reveals how Michael and Ngozi’s struggle for happiness began many lifetimes ago.
Through haunting, lyrical words, one unforgettable message resonates: love, hope and unity will heal us all.
Sucked in by the incredibly striking cover, I was initially unsure how the narrator being the ghost of a long dead African slave woman would work. However, from the first page her voice was so distinctive, so full of emotion, that any doubts I had were swept away. Her comparisons between the Brixton riots and her own experiences 200 years prior in Jamaica serve as a stark reminder of how little has changed. I loved the gentle unravelling of her own story as it was revealed, woven in between Michael’s and Ngozi’s stories, both painful in what she went through, yet beautiful in her love for Wind.
Rosanna Amaka brings to life the strains of life as a black man living in Brixton in the 1980s and the terror of armed raids in Nigeria in a way that nothing I have read before has achieved. Ngozi is a wonderfully inspiring character whose spirit sees her through unimaginable horrors, and my heart broke for her several times over what she went through in Nigeria and upon arrival in the UK. Similarly Michael’s experiences, largely at the hands of the people he loved and trusted made for difficult reading at times, but were incredibly uplifting at others.
The Book of Echoes is a soulful tale of two people who had to find themselves before they could really find each other. It is exquisitely written and has touched my heart in ways I cannot hope to describe. It is a book that once read will never be forgotten.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rosanna Amaka 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.
Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for more on this gorgeous book.