This one has been on my to read list for an embarrassingly long time. I’m talking a decade or so…I’m very pleased to have finally checked it off as read!
This is another book I read quickly (for me) – it brought me right back to my African Lit classes in University.
I am a huge advocate for expanding one’s shelf and reading works by authors from different cultures, countries, mother-tongues, etc… even if it means some of these reads will be more difficult to fully grasp. I definitely caught myself frowning at some of the villager’s practices as a white-middle-class-Canadian and I tried to take these moments to delve deeper into why these practices were in place instead of judging these people as backwards or “un-civilized” as the colonizers described them.
Regardless of bias, however, there are certainly some very disturbing scenes in the book – for those who have been relatively safe from witnessing violence first-hand – so be warned.
My one criticism is that the ending seemed to be rushed, with the coming of the colonizing forces only happening in the last quarter of the book or so but perhaps this was intentional in that it left the majority of the book free to devote itself to the people central to the novel. Perhaps I am just not used to reading books that don’t drive relentlessly towards some kind of climax. Looks like I need to read yet more widely!
Overall, would recommend approaching this book with an open mind and an understanding that some of the cultural practices may shock or upset you. Don’t give up on it, I think the message is worth it.