I’ve been quiet for quite a while. Autumn proved to be an incredibly hectic month and I just couldn’t find the time to read or write much, which was quite upsetting. But now I’m back and I’m more than ready to tackle my challenges for 2020 and read for myself without added pressure. So there might be fewer posts or they might not be very timely, but I’ll do my best to keep on reviewing the books I’m reading and talking to all of you lovely people!
So welcome to the first book review of 2020! I finished this book mid-December and couldn’t wait to let people know about it. I discovered “The Book of Echoes” on NetGalley while looking for something to read that hasn’t been published yet, and the cover and description really caught my attention. Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday for this eARC.
Publication date: February 27th, 2020
Title: The Book of Echoes
Author: Rosanna Amaka
Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 384
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5 stars)
Synopsis (taken from Goodreads): 1981, and 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 her hopes are shattered.
From dusty roads to gritty pavements, Ngozi and Michael’s journey towards a better life is strewn with heartache and injustice.
Overall Impression: This book slightly reminded me of “Homegoing” by Yaa Gayasi, which I absolutely loved. “The Book of Echoes” spans over years and follows two very different lives, a girl in Nigeria, and a boy in London. At first, it’s hard to see how they can be connected or related, but as the story goes along, there are more similarities than differences between their stories.
It’s a very well written book and intriguing story, which allowed me to become a bit more familiar with lives in Nigeria and in Brixton in the 80s and 90s. Any book that manages to teach me something new is a valuable read.
Likes: Personally, I love stories and lives that intertwine and span years, so this book really hit a sweet spot for me. I started caring for the characters and really wanted to know what turns their lives will take. Amaka’s words create a vivid and believable world and it is fascinating that this is her debut novel. The action never dies down, but it’s masterfully tamed in a way that makes it all lyrically beautiful.
Dislikes: The two characters are followed by a spirit of a woman, the narrator, who died during the beginnings of slave trade. At times, this felt very jarring and unnecessary, and at the start it was overall confusing whose story we are following or what’s the point of introducing them. There were a few pages in the book that just did not make sense and were really unnecessary. I do understand how this ties into the story of struggle and migration, but I wanted this to be either another character whose story we follow the same way we did with Ngozi and Michael rather that the narrator, or an altogether new book, which I think would be a great read as well.
In Conclusion: A marvellous story covering years and capturing the lives of the protagonists, never becoming mundane, as the characters face struggles and fight to survive. Beautiful words, great protagonists, and a story that spans decades. Worth a read if you enjoyed “Homegoing” or any other wide spanning story about hardships and hunger for a better life.
Are you looking forward to reading this once it’s published? Have you read anything similar?