Synopses & Reviews
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 Africas 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 countrys history through the tales of her aunts. Asana, lost twin and head wifes 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 nations descent into chaos, it is the take a family and four womens 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.
A dark rock the shape of a man's cigar. A broken pebble, open like a split plum. A stone with a dimple that fitted my thumb. A twinkling crystal. A pale three-cornered stone. I won't say I found them quickly. Not at all. Bobbio helped me. But even then, there were some I never found, whose faces I did not remember as well as I imagined. The Ancestors, my mother called them. Her murmured chant, once engraved upon my brain, now suddenly was gone. The effort of remembering turned into a great rock. Then, when I finally abandoned the effort, the words appeared, like a sculpture carved out of sandstone. And now I recognize them for what they are. Names. The name of my mother's mother. Of my grandmother. Of my great-grandmother and her mother. The women who went before. The women who made me. Each stone chosen and given in memory of a woman to her daughter. So that their spirits would be recalled each time the stone was held, warmed by a human hand, and cast on the ground to ask for help. And as the names emerged from the shadows, I saw how in taking them from her my father had destroyed my mother.