Monday, April 6, 2009

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

I've just finished listening to the 30th (and final) CBC Between the Covers podcast of The Book of Negroes. Narrator Kim Roberts did a wonderful job.

Aminata Diallo was 11 years old when she was abducted from her home in Africa. She recounts the many horrors she experienced after that, sold into slavery in South Carolina, yet always keeping hope alive that she would one day return to her homeland. As an old woman, Aminata worked with abolitionists in London to end the slave trade.

The storyline may put off some readers through its harshness alone, but Aminata's spirit provides a quality of transcendence. I grew to care more deeply about Aminata with each episode.

This book was entirely deserving of its win in CBC's Canada Reads challenge in March 2009. It also won the Commonwealth Writers Overall Best Book Award. In other countries, look for the title Someone Knows My Name.

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