Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Latest Read: The Book of Negroes
Lawrence Hill, Harper and Collins, 2007
Don't even try to get this book at the library unless you're willing to wait in line a couple of years. Too many people know it's a book you have to read.
The Book of Negroes journeys into black slavery in America, to the 13 colonies to Nova Scotia and back to Africa, to Sierra Leone. You travel with Aminata, superheroine of sorts, whose sharp mind and relentless labour allow her to rise above the plight of her people. Just above, but not much. The novel, history-turned-fiction, notes who we used to get where we are.
The novel made me think of East of Berlin, the Tarragon play we saw this year, where a guy tries to live with the guilt from his ancestors' atrocities--to live in a world so fouled that even the attempted reparations are hopeless and crippled. I longed for Aminata's captors to truly make good but they never do or can because the community is too far gone.