From Publishers Weekly
Stunning, wrenching and inspiring, the fourth novel by Canadian novelist Hill (Any Known Blood
) spans the life of Aminata Diallo, born in Bayo, West Africa, in 1745. The novel opens in 1802, as Aminata is wooed in London to the cause of British abolitionists, and begins reflecting on her life. Kidnapped at the age of 11 by British slavers, Aminata survives the Middle Passage and is reunited in South Carolina with Chekura, a boy from a village near hers. Her story gets entwined with his, and with those of her owners: nasty indigo producer Robinson Appleby and, later, Jewish duty inspector Solomon Lindo. During her long life of struggle, she does what she can to free herself and others from slavery, including learning to read and teaching others to, and befriending anyone who can help her, black or white. Hill handles the pacing and tension masterfully, particularly during the beginnings of the American revolution, when the British promise to free Blacks who fight for the British: Aminata's related, eventful travels to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone follow. In depicting a woman who survives history's most trying conditions through force of intelligence and personality, Hill's book is a harrowing, breathtaking tour de force. (Nov.)
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"Hill's novel is a beautiful, compelling artifice, spun from unspeakably savage facts... a fiction that faces the terrible truth about slavery" The Times "A colossal achievement... heartrending yet inspiring" Independent on Sunday "The ebb and flow of Aminata's fortunes is gripping stuff, with the horrors inflicted upon her and her people brought to life almost matter-of-factly - and all the more enraging for that" Daily Mail "Richly meticulous recreation of late 18th century slave life... in its grand historical sweep, The Book of Negroes succeeds admirably in giving voice to a captive people who were for so long kept mute" -- Stephen Amidon The Sunday Times "Wears its thorough research lightly... fitting that this ambitious revision of slave narratives should have won the overall Commonwealth Writers' Prize in the year that the American electorate demolished one of its most persistent categories of exclusion" Independent
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