A sweeping, uplifting story of how a boy from Brixton and a girl from Lagos escape their dark past to find themselves a bright future.
1981: England looks forward to a new decade. But on the streets of Brixton, it’s hard to hold onto your dreams, especially if you are a young black man. Racial tensions rumble, and now Michael Watson might land in jail for a crime he did not commit.
Thousands of miles away, village girl Ngozi abandons her orange stall for the chance to work as a maid. Alone in a big city, Ngozi’s fortunes turn dark and soon both her heart and hopes are shattered.
From dusty roads to gritty pavements, Ngozi and Michael’s journey towards a better life is strewn with heartache and injustice. When they finally collide, their lives will be transformed for ever.
With irresistible joy and grace, Rosanna Amaka writes of people moving between worlds, and asks how we can heal and help each other. Humming with beauty and horror, tragedy and triumph, THE BOOK OF ECHOES is a powerful debut from an authentic new voice in British fiction.
The Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka #thebookofechoes
“Each day I search for them, look for them, hunt for them. I did not choose to leave them. I am and will always be their mother, their African mother. Sometimes I hear them cry for me and each day I look, from there to Virginia, to Barbados, to Haiti, to Cuba, to Jamaica, and back again to the Bight of Biafra and the Bight of Benin, and further inwards to my homeland. But every day I return to these London docks, hoping they will, she will, remember and return. And in between, I watch people. I sit and stand among them, watching their beginnings and sometimes their ends”.
It is only February but I can confidently tell you The Book of Echoes will be one of my very favourite reads for 2020. It is 20 years in the making; for 20 years, Rosanna Amaka has poured her heart and soul into telling this story: the story about an African slave mother and the children that she left behind; about the lives and the fates that rippled through generations after. It is harrowing, it is horrific and I am once again feeling so completely devastated. To see the injustice of it all is truly heart-breaking. However, through all the trials and tragedies, human endurance, our courage and the willingness to change are what propel us through hardship and thought life.
You can see the love pouring out of Rosanna in every word. You can feel her urge to tell this story, the story of her history. The Book of Echoes is profound, potent and unforgettable.
The Book of Echoes is out today and I desperately want everyone to read it. It is truly incredible. I want to sincerely thank Tabitha in Double Day for sending me this early copy to read. Thank you.